Support services for victims of crime
There are several organisations that offer support services to victims of crime and their families in Ireland. They can provide emotional and practical support, give information about your rights as a victim, represent your interests and raise public awareness about victim issues.
The following are some of the services available:
General information and support
The Crime Victims Helpline provides a confidential listening and support service for victims of crime, no matter when the crime happened. It also provides information about crime victims’ rights and specialist services for victims of particular crimes such as domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape. Further information is available on crimevictimshelpline.ie.
Help when going to court
Victim Support at Court (VSAC) offers information and support for victims of crime, their families and witnesses. It provides information about what to expect in court and can bring you to visit the courtroom before the trial. It then offers help and support during the trial process, including attending the court with you. Further information is available on vsac.ie.
CARI provides accompaniment and support to children and their families when children have to give evidence in a criminal trial. This includes pre-trial preparation and visits to the courtroom; accompanying the child and their family during the trial; and post-trial support, if needed.
CARI can also accompany children and their families when they have to attend for forensic examination at the Child and Adolescent Sexual Assault Treatment Service in Galway or the Rotunda Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in Dublin. It also offers an Aftercare Support Service to adults who are involved in supporting a child through the forensic process. Further information is available on cari.ie.
Women’s Aid and Amen (see ‘Sexual violence’ below) also offer court accompaniment services.
Advocates for Victims of Homicide (AdVIC) provides support for families and friends of victims of murder or manslaughter. It provides information and assistance and can refer you to appropriate specialist services. It also provides a counselling service and runs bereavement support groups in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. Further information is available on advic.ie.
Rape Crisis Centres provide support to victims of rape and all forms of sexual violence. Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) is the representative body for Rape Crisis Centres. Its publications include a Guide to the legal process for survivors of sexual violence (pdf) and a Legal information pack for practitioners advising survivors of sexual violence (pdf). RCNI has also developed a website, rapecrisishelp.ie, where you can find information on the supports and choices available to survivors of sexual violence.
Women’s Aid provides information and support services for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. These supports include a 24-hour helpline (Freephone 1800 341 900) and a court accompaniment service. More information is on womensaid.ie.
Amen provides support services that are specifically for male victims of domestic abuse. It can help you to prepare for going through the court process and accompany you to court. Amen also runs support groups and offers counselling sessions. More information is available on amen.ie.
The Irish Tourist Assistance Service (ITAS) provides support and assistance for visitors to Ireland who are victims of crime. It can help you to access emergency travel documents, make travel arrangements, contact family and friends, and liaise with the Gardaí and other agencies. Further information is available on itas.ie.