26 September 2023

Family violence from virus to be studied

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The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has failed to find early signs of a possible increase in domestic violence resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Revealing its preliminary statistics following concerns being aired that social isolation strategies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could inadvertently increase the incidence of domestic violence the Bureau said it had found no supporting evidence.

“Domestic violence assaults recorded by police did not increase in March 2020,” the Bureau said.

“This is despite social distancing measures commencing halfway through that month.”

It said it was possible that domestic violence increased in March 2020 but victims were unable to report due to home confinement with their perpetrator.

BOCSAR said that while murder and grievous bodily harm were infrequent, they were serious enough to come to police attention regardless of a victim’s willingness to report.

“Neither of these offences rose in March 2020,” it said.

Executive Director of BOCSAR, Jackie Fitzgerald said the statistics only captured the first two weeks of social distancing measures.

Ms Fitzgerald said the data only reflected the early days of social isolation measures and the situation could change as time went on.

She said the Bureau would continue to monitor changes in domestic violence closely through a range of data sources.

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