Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fear, isolation and despair are among some of the effects of crime upon a person, according to the Irish Crime Victims Helpline., writes Joyce Fegan of the Irish Examiner

As part of figures compiled for European Day for Victims of Crime, it is estimated that 75 million people become victims of crime every year in the EU.

In the last year in Ireland, there have been about 120,000 crimes reported to gardaí, according to the most recent crime statistics.

Some of these relate to crimes such as assault, burglary, theft, homicide and sexual assault.

Executive director of the Irish Crime Victims Helpline, Michele Puckhaber said, that people can end up feeling vulnerable and alone as a result of experiencing a crime.

“Every day on the helpline we hear about people’s sense of fear, isolation, frustration, even despair, as a result of becoming a victim of crime,” said Ms Puckhaber.

“The helpline offers a calm and supportive space for people to talk over what has happened, to discuss the difficulties they are facing, to access support locally, to get information about the justice system, to benefit from a ‘listening ear’ at a time when they are feeling vulnerable, confused or alone,” she added.

Victims of crime, the helpline warns, do not just have to endure the crime and any subsequent injury, but also a “prolonged process in the criminal justice system”.

For most people, it is a first time experience and they are at a loss as to how the justice system works.

They also face the slow pace at which the courts system operates, states the helpline.

In terms of Irish legislation around victims of crime, we have yet to transfer an EU directive into our law. On November 15, 2015, all EU member states were to have transferred the EU Directive on Crime Victims’ Rights into domestic law.

The directive establishes minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime. Ireland has yet to transpose this directive.

Ms Puckhaber stated that the helpline hopes that Ireland will have transposed the directive by EU Day for Victims of Crime 2018.

“It is our hope that by the next EU Day for Victims of Crime we can say that Ireland has fulfilled their obligation to victims of crime by passing legislation that will put their rights, support, and protections into law,” she said,

The Crime Victims Helpline freephone number is 116 006. To text contact 085 133 7711. The email address is [email protected].

The helpline is manned Monday from 10am to7.30pm, Tuesday to Friday from 10am-5pm and on Saturday from 2pm-4pm.

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