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CEO of Waterford-based charity says cancellation of 999 domestic violence calls is hugely worrying

The CEO of a Waterford-based charity says the cancellation of 999 calls is hugely worrying.
It's emerged that over 600 emergency calls relating to domestic violence in 2019 and 2020 didn't get an appropriate response from the Gardaí.
The Men's Development Network in Waterford provides domestic violence supports and intervention.
Chief Executive, Seán Cooke said he hopes there's a thorough investigation:
"Certainly around domestic violence, it's a really, really difficult situation. Especially when you have an individual who makes that decision to make that call and then doesn't get the appropriate repsonse.
"That's the hardest call. The first call generally is the hardest call - to reach out and seek support. And then to not get the type of appropriate response then at that stage is really concerning. Firstly, in terms of that person not getting support, but then secondly, they might never ever reach out again."
He also said he hopes that no unconscious bias is uncovered by the investigation that is now taking place by the Policing Authority:
"They are very complex cases to try and police. Sometimes you would be trying to avoid a very difficult situation because when you walk into a situation of domestic violence, it's not that clear cut. There's a lot of work you have to do as a Garda to get to the bottom of it and make sure that people are safe at the end of your intervention.
"I'm really hopeful that there will be a thorough investigation here but also that it doesn't uncover that kind of unconscious bias."
This morning the Justice Minister, Heather Humphreys, stressed that she does still have confidence in the Garda Commissioner and doesn't think Drew Harris should consider his position.
Seán Cooke says he would also commend the Commissioner for holding his hands up and apologising for the wrong that has been done.
However, he says the revelation has been both worrying and disheartening:
"Like, we were involved in a very significant campaign during the last year, the 'StillHere.ie' campaign, letting people know that the services around domestic violence were still in place, even though people were in lockdown.
"It was a really successful campaign, but then to find on the other side side that you have a situation where, when all these extra calls started to come in, that they weren't responded to.
"So it's a really, really worrying situation. But I would be happy, I suppose, that the Commissioner has come out, upfront and centre, and that there is going to be an investigation about it and that it won't continue."

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