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SHOCKING STATS Violent crime against women over 60 soars in lockdown

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There was a 71pc increase in visitors to the Women’s Aid website. Picture posed

There was a 71pc increase in visitors to the Women’s Aid website. Picture posed

There was a 71pc increase in visitors to the Women’s Aid website. Picture posed

Violence against women during the lockdown has grown alarmingly, the latest official crime figures show.

While crimes such as burglary are down by more than half, the number of female victims of assault in the over-60 age bracket soared more than 18pc between April and June.

Assaults on women in the 30 to 44 age group went up nearly 2pc in that period compared to the same time last year.

Sexual offences were down 20.5pc and overall assaults fell 15.9pc.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in fewer break-ins and other crimes, the figures reveal the toll of violence on women in particular.

The rising numbers reflect an worrying increase in domestic violence.

Last month, the Women's Aid charity said there were more than 27,000 domestic violence incidents since the pandemic struck.

It said the lockdown, which was introduced to slow the spread of the coronavirus, "exacerbated the risk for people living with domestic abuse" as they were forced into constant close-quarter contact with their abusers.

There was a 43pc increase in calls to the Women's Aid helpline, a 71pc increase in visitors to its website and a 25pc increase in calls to gardaí.

The increase in attacks on women was detailed in crime figures released yesterday by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

They also showed burglary offences were down 52.8pc, thefts fell 38.7pc and robbery offences dropped 29.9pc.

There were, however, rises in crimes in three other categories. These were fraud and deception, controlled drug offences and weapons and explosives offences.

Some of these could be down to pandemic restrictions.

There were 281 criminal incidents relating to the enforcement of movement restrictions associated with Covid-19, the CSO said.

Gardaí recently issued a warning about an increase in online fraud through bogus investment websites.

One reason for those numbers rising could be that more people are working from home on their computers and doing online shopping.

This has led to increased exposure to internet criminals.

Seizing

Gardaí have been very successful in recent months in seizing drugs and firearms.

Some criminals have been caught at Covid checkpoints and others were detected by having to change their distribution and storage networks due to the lockdown.

They were caught through surveillance as they moved drugs and weapons.

"The activity in the drug units was not curtailed during lockdown, and this resulted in many seizures both at street level and higher up the distribution chain," a spokesman for An Garda Síochána said.

"The lockdown may also be responsible for an increase in kidnapping and related off- ences.

"Drug dealers whose income supply was hit by the closure of pubs and clubs began to lean more heavily on users who were in debt in order to make up the cash they had to give to people higher up the chain."

The latest CSO figures reflect those issued in June in relation to crimes recorded in March, April and May.

These showed attempts and threats to murder, as well as assaults and harassments, had fallen by 24pc.

Burglaries were down 44pc, thefts from shops dropped 39pc, thefts from people declined by 62pc and robberies were down nearly a third.

"During the Covid-19 crisis, gardaí have shown their determination to continue to prevent and detect crime, with significant seizures and arrests for drugs, organised crime, burglaries and drug and drink-driving," Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey said.

"We have maintained our focus on protecting the vulnerable in the current situation.

"For example, early on we put in place a specific operation to help victims of domestic abuse, as well as encouraging all victims of this crime to report any concerns they have to us."

Herald