There has been a significant increase in the number of files received by the Director of Public Prosecution’s (DPP) office related to domestic violence or breaches of a court order.
Speaking during her opening address at the Annual National Prosecutors' Conference today, Claire Loftus, Director of Public Prosecutions said that in 2019 the office had received a total of 464 files where domestic violence or breach of a court order was involved.
“Already this year the office has received 684 files. This represents an 87 per cent increase over the same period last year,” she said.
Ms Loftus said that it has been important that the Criminal Justice System respond to this in the public interest and that she welcomed the priority that the Courts Service and District Court has given to these cases.
In her address, the Director of Public Prosecutions also highlighted work relating to new statutory instruments regulating various activities, in the interests of public health signed into law this year.
“A new area of work has emerged directly as a result of the pandemic. The Minister for Health has over the period since March signed into law a series of statutory instruments regulating various activities, in the interests of public health.
"Since the outset of the pandemic the DPP’s office has liaised with and advised the Garda Síochána on the enforcement of these regulations and all such prosecutions have been directed by the DPP’s office. Up until this week we had received 447 files seeking direction as to prosecution. Of that number we have directed prosecution of such offences in 262 cases. This has involved a total of 401 suspects,” she said.
Ms Loftus said that since the pandemic began that the number of files being submitted to the office for decision on prosecution has increased by approximately 22% over last year.
"Although our workload has been increasing year on year this is an extraordinary increase and it remains to be seen whether it will be sustained into 2021," she said.