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'Use Your Brain Not Your Fists' campaign

Brains Not Fists

‘Use Your Brain Not Your Fists’ is a public safety campaign by An Garda Síochána that aims to reduce the number of assaults carried out by males between 18 and 39 years of age.

It appeals to young males to think of the consequences for themselves and others of being involved in assaults as statistics show a rise in assaults in last number of years in line with the rise in the night-time economy.

According to the Garda Analysis Service, the vast majority of assaults are carried out by males aged between 18 and 39 against males of a similar age. These assaults typically take place in and around public places (street, roads, pubs and hotels) between 8pm and 5am at the weekend. Approximately 25% of incidents linked to the night time economy involved intoxication of either the suspect offender, the victim, or both. Perpetrators of assaults tend not to repeat the crime and there is a very low level of repeat victimisation.

Use your brain 2The GSAS’s headline results were as follows:

  • 83% of offenders in assault cases are male
  • Majority of offenders are aged between 18 and 39
  • 70% of assaults are male-on-male
  • 75% of assault victims are male
  • Street assaults typically occur between 8pm and 5am at the weekend
  • Low level of repeat offenders (approx 3%), and low level of repeat victimisation (0.6%)
  • Low level of reporting of assaults (approx 55% of assaults reported)

Analysis has also shown that the level of assaults is typically associated with the vibrancy of the night time economy which has shown signs of recovery following the recession.

For example, in the Dublin Metropolitan Region, the number of assaults causing harm rose from 1,396 in 2012 to 1,707 in 2015, while minor assaults increased from 3,100 to 3,337 in the same period. In 2016, assaults nationally have shown a decline with minor assaults down 2% and assaults causing harm down 4%.

To further reduce assaults and enhance community safety, An Garda Síochána has implemented its multi-strand anti-crime strategy. This has involved a range of activities across a number of different areas.

Operations and Crime Prevention: Assault hotspots have been identified and since early August there has been a high visibility policing presence in these areas at key times.

Partnership: An Garda Síochána is working in partnerships with licensed premises, the business community and local councils to address issues around anti-social behaviour.

Education: A public awareness campaign titled Use Your Brain Not Your Fists targeted at males aged between 18 and 39 goes live from today. The campaign informs them about the consequences from assaulting another person – they could lose their job, their ability to travel, and even go to jail. It also reminds people of the potentially devastating physical and mental impact on assault victims.

Victim Support: Through our national network of Victim Service Offices victims of assaults are provided with information on available support services and are given regular updates on their case.

Use your brain 3

Sergeant Kelvin Courtney, Garda Bureau of Community Engagement, urged young men to think about the impact of their actions on themselves and others, and advised people to be streetwise when they are out and about.

“The vast majority of assaults that occur are needless and avoidable,” said Sergeant Kelvin Courtney, Garda Community Engagement. “They are usually carried out by males against males aged between 18 and 39, during evenings and early mornings. Don’t be that guy; use your brain not your fists. 

“Never attempt to reason with drunk or aggressive people. Walk away and look for help.

“Be streetwise when you’re out and about. Planning is key to having a good night out. Arrange transport to and from events in advance. Let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back. Avoid walking alone and in dark places. Be wary of your surroundings and mind your property.”

Sergeant Courtney urged assault victims to report the crime, which, according to the CSO may be under-reported by approximately 40%.

“Some victims of assaults, particularly men, are embarrassed to say they have been assaulted. 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.”