herald

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Almost half of 5,000 violent assaults not reported to gardai

'Figures from the Garda Analysis Service show that 83pc of assaults are carried out by a male, the majority of whom are aged 18-39, and that 75pc of assault victims are male' (stock photo)
'Figures from the Garda Analysis Service show that 83pc of assaults are carried out by a male, the majority of whom are aged 18-39, and that 75pc of assault victims are male' (stock photo)

Nearly half of all violent attacks and assaults carried out go unreported to gardai.

Throughout the last year in the capital alone 1,707 serious assaults were recorded by gardai, a 22pc increase from the 1,396 such incidents in 2012.

Minor assaults also rose by around 8pc in the same period - with 3,337 crimes reported in 2016 compared to 3,100 in 2012.

However, despite the rise in assaults, gardai believe that approximately 45pc of attacks, both serious and minor, are not reported.

Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the Garda Bureau of Community Engagement has urged victims to report any attacks.

"The vast majority of assaults that occur are needless and avoidable. They are usually carried out by males against males aged between 18 and 39, during evenings and early mornings. Don't be that guy - use your brain, not your fists," he said.

"Never attempt to reason with drunk or aggressive people. Walk away and look for help. Some victims of assaults, particularly men, are embarrassed to say they have been assaulted.

"I would encourage anybody, and in particular younger men, to report all assaults to An Garda Siochana. Anyone who has been assaulted will be treated with sensitivity by An Garda Siochana and it will be fully investigated," he added.

The call comes as part of the gardai's initiative to reduce assaults through targeted action.

Figures from the Garda Analysis Service show that 83pc of assaults are carried out by a male, the majority of whom are aged 18-39, and that 75pc of assault victims are male.

The statistics also show that perpetrators are very unlikely to carry out an assault again, with just 3pc of people re-offending, while there is also a low level of repeat victimisation of just 0.6pc.

Victim impact statements provided to An Garda Siochana also highlight the lasting effect a random assault can have on a victim.

Disturbed

"Since the incident I think about the vulnerability of myself, my girlfriend and my family when out socialising or going about daily life," said a 29-year-old man in his statement.

"In the weeks that followed the incident, I experienced disturbed sleep and anxiety."

One 25-year-old male victim told how an assault caused him to become more irritable, especially while playing sport.

"Towards my friends I seem more easily scared, more anxious and more irritable. That is getting obvious regarding sports. I almost never got booked or red-carded before, and it happens to me more often now," he said.

Another victim impact statement from a 26-year-old male showed the lasting mental effect that an assault can have.

"Before the assault I was a happy-go-lucky guy, but since then I would describe my life as hell," he said.

"Along with the terrible injuries that kept me in hospital for a long time, I have suffered from depression and paranoia and I still feel angry a lot of the time."

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