Gardaí confirm exception to 5km travel rule for very important reason
An Garda Síochana has confirmed that the current 5km travel restrictions in place during Level 5 of the government's Living With Covid-19 plan do not apply in the case of someone fleeing domestic violence or the risk of harm.
Operation Faoiseamh, which commenced on April 1, sees gardaí offering enhanced proactive support to victims of domestic abuse.
An Garda Síochána announced the commencement of Phase 3 of this operation on Wednesday morning. This phase will once again see An Garda Síochána prioritise citizens vulnerable to and victims of domestic abuse.
Gardaí will proactively reach out and make contact with previous victims to provide reassurance, support and to offer the assistance of local and specialised resources and have a renewed focus on the enforcement of court orders and the prosecution of offenders under Phase 3.
A statement read: "An Garda Síochána continues to treat all instances of domestic abuse as a priority and once again re-enforces our commitment to ‘keeping people safe’, and in particular the victims of domestic and sexual abuse. The vulnerable and victims of abuse, will continue to receive the highest priority response from An Garda Síochána.
"An Garda Síochána continues to liaise with and support our partners in State and non-State agencies to facilitate continuity in respect of access to support services and Courts Services.
"An Garda Síochána resources dedicated to the support of vulnerable and victims of domestic violence have not been affected during our response to the Covid-19 Pandemic. The Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB) and Divisional Protective Service Units (DPSU), now established in every Garda Division, supported by Divisional Victim Service Offices (DVSO) and front line Gardaí are all resources available to respond to these crimes and support these citizens.
So far under Operation Faoiseamh, An Garda Síochána has recorded an 18% year on year increase to date in calls for assistance in respect of Domestic related issues between 2019/2020.
A total of 15,320 contacts or attempts at contact to victims of domestic abuse have been recorded as part of Operation Faoiseamh.
Ireland is currently at Level 5 of the National Framework for Living with Covid-19. The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (Amendment) (No.8) Regulations 2020 are currently in force and restrict the movement of persons from their place of residence.
"Travel restrictions DO NOT APPLY in the case of domestic violence or to escape a risk of harm, whether to the person or to another person," gardaí confirmed.
Speaking in advance of the commencement of Operation Faoiseamh – Phase 3 Detective Chief Superintendent Declan Daly, Garda National Protective Services Bureau stated: "Prior to the commencement of Operation Faoiseamh, I assured those victims experiencing domestic abuse that An Garda Síochána were available to assist you in this difficult time. An Garda Síochána are mindful of the fear and concern some in our community may have at this time.
"I wish to take this opportunity to re-emphasise our commitment to protect the most vulnerable in society. Operation Faoiseamh has been established to ensure you are safe, if you feel threatened or are in fear please contact us and we will respond quickly and robustly.
"If you are a victim of abuse or you know of a family member or friend who is a victim of such abuse, that information is important to us and I ask that you make contact with An Garda Síochána. If you require urgent assistance or support, please call 999 or 112, we are there to listen to help and to protect."