Gardai are prioritising responses to domestic abuse reports amid concerns about an increase in incidents during the coronavirus emergency, a senior Government official has said.
Liz Canavan, Assistant Secretary General at the Department of the Taoiseach, stressed that the 2km restriction on movement did not apply to abuse victims who were seeking help.
Ms Canavan moved to provide assurance to those suffering domestic abuse that the full range of support services were still available during the Covid-19 outbreak.
“We’ve spoken previously about concerns in relation to an increase in the incidence of domestic abuse in times of crisis,” she told the daily Government press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.
“At a time where we have all been asked to stay at home we’re very conscious that for victims of domestic abuse, home may not be a safe place.
“The Government wants to assure victims of domestic abuse that support is still available despite Covid-19.
“We want to put out a very clear message to anyone who may be suffering domestic abuse that frontline support services are still available.
“An Garda Siochana is prioritising responses to domestic abuse, other services like the courts and the legal aid boards are ready to offer support where needed.
“And any restrictions on moving around, including the two kilometre rule, do not apply to a person trying to avoid risk of harm, or seeking to access essential services.”
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And any restrictions on movement (the 2km rule) do not apply to a person trying to avoid risk of harm or seeking to access essential services. Information on services and supports for victims are being made available through https://t.co/Gof1fsqa4f.@DeptJusticeIRL
Ms Canavan said information on services and support for victims is available through gov.ie
The official also raised concern about a reported scam involving people being sent a fraudulent text message about contact tracing of the virus.
“We’ve spoken about the need to be vigilant about scams and fraud at this time,” she said.
“Unfortunately, there are people who will take advantage of us during this emergency.
“We’re aware of reports about a contact tracing scam that involves people getting text messages saying they’ve been in contact with a confirmed case, or with someone presenting with symptoms of Covid-19, where they’re asked to click on a link.
“Don’t click on this link, delete the text immediately.
“You will not be contacted in this way as part of the contact tracing process.”