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O'Leary, Megan (2010) Intimidation of families. In: Community drugs problem: defining the problem - defending the responses conference, 15 October 2010, Dublin.

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Megan O' Leary, Family Support Network, carried out research on intimidation of families through the Family Support Network; here are some of her key findings:
• 30 family support services knew of debt related intimidation that originated from a debt worth €500 or less
• There was an even spread in the largest amount of debt that respondents were aware of. The most common amount was €10,000 - €20,000.
• The most common forms of repayment that drug users used included cash payment and/or dealing and cash payment and/or holding or hiding drugs
• Verbal threats (39), physical violence (33) and damage to home/property (33) are the most common forms of intimidation used
• The family members most likely to be targeted are the mothers (35), siblings (23) & fathers (21) of drug users
• Persons working for drug dealers normally collect the debt (32)

Levels of violence:
• Threatening Behaviour
• Personal Property
• Physical Violence
• Sexual Violence or Threats of Sexual Violence
• "Threatening behaviour to any of the residents committee members who may attempt to bring up the issue. Comments made, cars and property vandalised, their kids intimidated"
• Victims are too scared to report intimidation to the Gardai and do not trust them to do anything about it.
• Mothers whose children use drugs are most likely to be targeted

Action 5 of the National Drugs Strategy: "To develop a framework to provide an appropriate response to the issue of drug related intimidation in the community." Work is ongoing to:
• To provide a single point of contact.
• Ensure a confidential and effective means of dealing with intimidation.
• Provide families with sufficient support from An Garda Siochana
• A pilot project has been devised that will link Family Support with a Nominated Inspector and a liaison officer who will manage cases with families to tackle intimidation.


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