A staggering amount of violent assaults go unreported in Ireland every year 4 years ago

A staggering amount of violent assaults go unreported in Ireland every year

Nearly half of all violent attacks and assaults go unreported to Gardaí...

In 2015, there were 1,707 assaults causing harm reported to Gardaí in Dublin alone, an increase of over 20% from the 1,396 incidents that were reported in 2012.

Minor assaults reported stood at 3,337 in 2016, up from 3,100 in 2012.

Of all these assaults, 70% of them were male-on-male, with 75% of overall victims being male.

Despite the rise in the number of assaults brought to the attention of Gardaí, it's believed that over 45% of assaults go unreported to Gardaí.

But why do so many of these assaults go unreported? What is stopping people, with the vast majority being men, from contacting Gardaí when they are the victims of a violent assault?

Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the Garda Bureau of Community Engagement and spokesperson for the public awareness initiative, Use Your Brain Not Your Fists, has urged any victims to report such attacks, but he has realises that there has been some under-reporting of the crimes.

"There's probably a cohort of 18-39 year old men who are probably embarrassed that they got involved in whatever incident they got involved in originally, they don't want to report it out of embarrassment," he said.

"If people report to us, we would have a far better idea of where the assaults are happening and divert resources to these places."

Temple Bar

Sergeant Courtney's views on the under-reporting of assaults were echoed by Col Patterson in a recent interview with us here in JOE. Col was the victim of an unprovoked one-punch assault, but he never reported the crime and no charges were ever brought against the man who changed the course of his life with just one punch.

"I just didn't want any more fuss and was embarrassed at the time of being the centre of attention in the chipper [where the assault took place]," Col said.

"We were just glad to get home and we were kinda watching our backs and more concerned with making it home in case the guy was still about.

"I wasn't keen to go to the Garda Station at the time, which is stupid now looking back on it. The guy wasn't local and nothing every came of it.

"I would strongly encourage everybody to ring a garda now and it's easy me saying in hindsight and all that, but it's a dangerous type of assault."

As many of the assaults happen between 8pm and 5am at the weekend with alcohol on board, it leads to problems when it comes to the reporting of the assaults according to Sgt. Courtney.

"It might be a case where a person reports something, and they may be intoxicated themselves and they might be told that under the circumstances that we can't take an official statement off them right now," Sgt. Courtney said.

"But we can take what details they can give at the time and we can get a full and clear statement off them the following day."

However, when the following day comes rather than going through the fuss of contacting the Gardaí and reporting crime, many choose to simply brush off the incident.

Men on the whole tend to want to brush such incidents under the rug and move on as quickly as possible with shame and embarrassment cited as the main reasons.

A CALM report - A Crisis in Modern Masculinity from 2014 - found that 42% of male respondents said they believe a man is "mostly responsible" for being emotionally strong and taking charge in a crisis.

It could be that when men find themselves the victims of these assaults, many would prefer to avoid dwelling on the issue and see the easiest route back to be emotionally strong as pushing the whole incident to the back of their minds.

"I would encourage anybody, and in particular, younger men, to report all assaults to An Garda Síochána. Anyone who has been assaulted will be treated with sensitivity by An Garda Síochána and it will be fully investigated," Sgt Courtney said.

If you're the victim of an assault you can call 999/112 or contact your local Garda Station. Always call 999/112 if it's an emergency or you see a crime in progress.