A SPECIAL garda unit in Cork will now investigate sexual crimes, human trafficking, child abuse and domestic abuse.
The unit is based in Anglesea Street and is one of four new Divisional Protective Services Units (DPSUs) that went live across three Garda divisions.
The units will be rolled out to all other Garda divisions next year.
There will be up to 15 gardaí attached to each of the units. This will include an Inspector, two Detective Sergeants, 10 Detective Gardaí and two administrative staff, with a small number being allocated on a phased basis.
The purpose of the units is to ensure victims of a range of crimes can expect a more professional response from the Gardaí.
"Equally, our response to the investigation of missing persons, children who are missing in care, and sex offenders will be enhanced by the establishment of DPSUs,” Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey said.
"Today marks a significant step forward in the provision of protective services for vulnerable people in Ireland. It means that people who are victims of a range of crimes, including sexual, domestic or child abuse, prostitution and human trafficking can expect a more professional and consistent service from the Gardaí."
"It will also provide us with an opportunity to place vulnerable victims of crime at the centre of the Garda service, which is in line with our stated ethos of providing a more victim-centred, empathetic and meaningful service to the people who need it most. It also reaffirms our commitment that there is no place for deferential treatment in modern Irish policing," he said.
The full list of crime types and services handled by the Divisional Protective Service Units are; sexual crime investigation; online child exploitation investigation; child protection, crimes against children and child welfare; domestic abuse intervention and investigation; human trafficking investigation; organised prostitution investigation; specialist interviewing; sex offender management; missing persons; missing children in care; support for victims of crime; and violent crime linkage analysis system.