Charity to raise awareness on European Day for Victims of Crime
A charity which provides support services to victims of crime has revealed that the number of victims of crime accessing its service has increased by 37% in the past two years.
Victim Support at Court (V-SAC) provides court accompaniment services to victims and witnesses during criminal proceedings in the Criminal Courts of Justice, and District and Circuit Courts. In 2018 the Charity began Phase 1 of a national expansion of its service.
The Charity will mark European Day for Victims of Crime on 22nd February 2019 with a breakfast briefing for judges, DPP’s Office, Gardai, other support agencies and Courts Service personnel, setting out details of its service, it’s expansion plans and providing a networking opportunity for support agencies to come together.
V-SAC General Manager Dympna Kenny said: “There has been a significant increase in demand for services from victims of crime, not only as a result of our expansion into the regional courts, but also within the CCJ in Dublin.
“We have seen a 37% increase since 2016. In 2018, we provided assistance and support to 1365 victims and witnesses attending trials, sentencing hearings and appeals. Our volunteers have given over 1,200 days of their time and there were almost five and a half thousand individual contacts with victims.
“In hosting this event to mark European Day for Victims of Crime, V-SAC wants to heighten the national awareness of crime victims’ rights and the support services available to victims in Ireland, in line with the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2018. Our mission is to provide a safe and supportive environment for victims of crime, their families and witnesses while they attend court. We want to ensure that no victim is left without support.
“V-SAC will be following Victim Support Europe’s 10 Day social media campaign in recognition of European Day for Victims of Crime, which will highlight specific victims’ rights on each day. We encourage everyone to get involved and share the message from this campaign.
“We provide a free service that is dedicated solely to court accompaniment for victims of all types of crime, their families and prosecution witnesses while they attend court. This is probably the most difficult thing for them to do at possibly the most difficult and traumatic time – when they have to go to court and face the person accused of doing harm to them or their loved one. Most people are unaware that they are entitled to free support while they are attending court. We want to let people know that they are not alone and V-SAC is here to support for the duration of the legal proceedings. Our service is committed to making the court process less intimidating for victims and witnesses, giving them a safe space where they can be apart from the general public and a listening ear if they need it. “