LATEST NEWS & ARTICLES
6 February, 2014 New report highlights difficulties for victims of crime with disabilities
A new ICCL (Irish Council for Civil Liberties) study launches last week highlights protection gaps for people with disabilities who become victims of crime. For anyone who becomes a victim of crime it is usually an upsetting and possibly distressing experience. Victims of crime with disabilites may be more disadvantaged and may need more support in dealing with the criminal justice system. The situation in Ireland is that there is very little recognition of the possible difficulties faced by people with disabilities, and very few provisions for helping people to overcome these difficulties. Shane Kilcommins, one of the joint authors of the report, stated that policy makers and criminal justice agencies in Ireland "need to identify people with disabilities as a distinct category of victim, with specific communicative, social, mobility and emotional requirements." The study includes practical recommendations on international best practices in this area.
17 December, 2013 CRIME VICTIMS HELPLINE open for calls over the Christmas period.
The Crime Victims Helpline will be open for calls every day between 2 and 4 p.m. over the holiday season, from 24 December to 1 January. The usual opening hours will resume from 2 January. These opening hours are provided to assist people who have been victims of crime either over Christmas or at any time during the year or in the past.
Unfortunately for some people Christmas can be a difficult time, depending on their circumstances and recent life events. The emotional effects of difficult events that have occurred during the year can re-emerge during the prolonged holiday time, and this applies also to people who have been victims of crime. After the Christmas rush is over people may feel that they would like to deal with some of the issues that arose for them during the year, or at some time in the past.
Maeve Ryan, Helpline co-ordinator, said today: "People may not be always able to deal with the emotional effects of a crime immediately after it occurs. In fact, it may take some time for people to realise that they have been affected by a crime, and it could be months later that they decide to talk to someone about it. In the lull between Christmas and resuming normal routine people may have time to take a first step in dealing with the effects of a crime. We will be available if they would like to call and have a chat over the phone. We can provide emotional support and information on teh criminal justice system. We can also put people in touch with general and specialist services for victims of crime around the country. Callers can contact the helpline at any time and leave a message, and a volunteer will return their call. The Free Phone number is 116 006 and the number for texts is 085 1337711.
15 November, 2013
Launch of Victims' Rights Alliance The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, launched the new Victims' Rights Alliance, in the Mansion House, Dublin, on Friday 15th November. Lord Mayor, Oisín Quinn, was also in attendance. The goal of the alliance is to ensure that the new Victims' Rights EU Directive is implemented within the proposed time frame for the benefit of all victims of crime. The directive provides for minimum rights, supports and protection for all victims of crime. The date of the launch of the Alliance, 15th November, was chosen because that is the date in 2015 on which the Directive must be transposed into Irish law.
Mr Shatter stated that work is already taking place on the new legislation that will be required, and he assured those present that he is committed to the full implementation of the Directive.
13 November, 2013 Annual Report Launched 11.5% increase in contacts in 2012
Crime Victims Helpline today reported an 11.5% increase in incoming contacts for 2012, with a total of 3,628 during the period. This total comprised of 3,249 telephone calls and 379 contacts by email, fax and text. The helpline also made 3,026 support contacts - bringing the overall number of contacts to 6,654.
The gender breakdown of callers was 70% female and 30% male. Just as in 2011 physical assault was the category of crime leading to the most calls - at 25%. Sexual violence and property crime (burglary and robbery) were the next highest categories at 23% each. 10% of calls related to harassment. Just under 50% of calls to the helpline are from people living in Dublin.
Maeve Ryan, Helpline Co-ordinator, said today, "Our service is clearly very important for large numbers of people and the 11% increase in calls is more than likely emerging for two reasons, greater awareness of our service and greater need. The main reasons people call the helpline are for emotional support, information, issues around Garda investigations, and because of fear which developed as a result of the crime. We can assist people with all of these matters aned we can also offer information on other avenues of support, depending on the issues which emerge."
The National Crime Victims Helpline provides an opportunity for people who are feeling isolated, anxious, angry, sad, nervous and afraid as a result of crime to find emotional support on the phone. Other callers may have questions about the justice system, or local and specialised services for victims of crime, or the availability of support to address the financial effects of crime.
24 September, 2013 "Know Your Rights Guide on the Victims' Directive"
A guide to understanding the significance of the new EU Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime was launched in Dublin on 23 September. The directive is due to be in force under Irish law by 16th November, 2015. It sets out a series of rights for victims of crime and is set to change the experience of victims of crime within the criminal justice system. Victims will for the first time have a right to information on the following: about the status of the criminal case, on support services for victims of crime, how to obtain protection from a perpetrator, how and when they can obtain interpretation and translation, and how and when they can obtain compensation from a perpetrator. All of this information should be given to victims of crime by the 'first competent authority' they come in contact with as a victim of crime. In most cases this authority will be An Garda Síochána. The guide was written by barrister Maria McDonald, and is available from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.
10 July, 2013 Victim Impact Statement leaflet launched
Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr Alan Shatter yesterday launched a new leaflet which gives guidance to victims of crime who are going to make a victim impact statement in court. The leaflet explains who can make a victim impact statement, and what can be said in the statement. It will provide clarity on these questions for many people who are in the situation of wanting to make a victim impact statement but who are unsure of what they should include in it. The leaflet will be widely available and will also be available online. Crime Victims Helpline can send a leaflet to anyone who requests one.
18 June, 2013 Holiday Season can create opportunity for crime – warns the Crime Victims Helpline (CVH)
As we enter the main holiday season the Crime Victims Helpline wants to caution people about the possibility of crime, especially in regard to burglary at home and various crimes which can occur when away from home. An unoccupied house is always more vulnerable to a burglary, so we advise that people take precautions by not leaving cash or jewellery lying around. These are attractive items and needless to say, easy to take, carry and dispose of by the burglar. It goes without saying that doors should be double locked, alarms used if possible and that a build up of uncollected mail should not remain visible from the outside of the property.
When away from home, especially in major cities, all of us are very visible and recognisable as tourists and vulnerable to pickpockets and to other forms of theft. Again we learn from people who call the helpline that the main target of the mugger or thief is cash and valuables - so we advise people to be cautious and not to venture alone off the beaten track or leave valuables lying around.
Maeve Ryan, Service Co-Ordinator, C.V.H said today, “Whereas the calls to our helpline deal with a wide variety of crimes, we receive calls regularly from people who have experienced burglaries and break-ins to their homes. It can be very distressing for people to return from a holiday and find that their home, a place of safety and comfort, has been ransacked. Many people can also have a much needed holiday destroyed by a crime, so the challenge is to ensure that precautions are taken and risk minimised.”
Maeve Ryan went on to say, “Many people are seriously affected by crime, irrespective of its nature or intensity - and we can assist those who call the helpline. Thankfully the vast majority of people experience very little crime in their lives, but for those who do, it can be a difficult experience. We would also strongly advise people who have experienced a crime, whether at home or away to contact the local Gardaí/Police, as a matter of priority. The reporting of a crime can in many ways protect others from such a crime”
11 December, 2012 - Release of the 2011 Crime Victims Helpline Annual Report : in 2011 The Crime Victims Helpline had more than 6000 contacts with victims of crime. More than anything this highlights the importance of support for people when they are affected by crime. People have to cope first of all with the immediate effects of crime with which we are all familiar – the shock of the incident, the loss of property, the damage to doors and windows, the physical injuries suffered in an assault, attending hospital or medical centre, reporting to Gardaí, informing insurance, etc.
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