Victims of Crime and the Garda Siochana
The Gardai (Irish police force) work towards preventing crime, protecting life and property, preserving the peace and maintaining public safety. When crimes and offences happen, the Gardai investigate them and try to bring those responsible to justice.
They do this by
- cautioning young offenders for a range of minor offences,
- prosecuting offenders in the District Court for less serious offences and
- reporting the results of investigations to the Director of Public Prosecutions and asking for direction for more serious crimes.
The Gardai are committed to treating victims of crime with empathy, courtesy, respect and dignity.
If you are a victim of crime, the Gardai will respond quickly to your call. They must give your case equal priority with other cases, whatever your gender, race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, age, economic circumstances or membership of any minority group.
If you are a victim of crime, you are entitled to information from the Gardai. The Gardai must tell you the name, telephone number and station of the investigating Garda. The Gardai will explain the investigation process to you and make sure that you are kept informed about the progress of the investigation, including whether a suspect is charged or cautioned. You will also be told about the support services available to victims of crime .
If a suspect has been charged, the Gardai will
- tell you whether the accused is in custody or on bail and the conditions attached to the bail
- tell you the time, date and location of the court hearings
- explain the prosecution process involved
- tell you if you are likely to be called as a witness
- if you are going to be called as a witness, tell you about the help available from Victim Support
- explain when a judge may ask for a victim impact statement (pdf) (for sexual and violent offences) and arrange for its completion
- tell you if you are entitled to court expenses
- tell you the final outcome of the trial.
If the crime caused serious trauma to you or your family, the Gardai will tell you if the offender is about to be released from prison, if they are notified of the release. There is no requirement to inform the Gardaí of the release of offenders unless a sex offenders order is in operation. They will also make whatever policing arrangements are necessary for your safety.
The Gardai will show special sensitivity if you are a victim of a sexual offence. If it is appropriate, your case will be dealt with by a special Garda unit for domestic violence and sexual assault investigation. The Gardai will try to make sure that the Garda and the doctor who are helping you are of the same gender.
You will be told about special support agencies dealing with sexual offences.
Families of murder victims
If you are the family of a murder victim, a Garda superintendent will contact you and the relevant Victim Support Service. After the initial contact, a named member of the Garda team investigating the murder will continue to keep you and Victim Support informed.
Victims of domestic violence
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you are entitled to the same Garda support services as victims of sexual violence and serious crime. A pro-arrest policy reflects Garda operational practice in protecting you and your family.
Victims with special needs
If you are an elderly person and you have been the victim of a crime, the Gardai will take all possible steps to protect you and your home.
If you are a visitor to Ireland or if you cannot speak fluent English, the Gardai will provide a translator and will refer you to the Tourist Victim Support service.
If you are a physically or mentally disabled person, the Gardai will try to provide for your special needs.
How to apply
If you are not fully satisfied with the assistance you have received from members of the Garda Siochana or if you have any enquiries or suggestions, you should contact the Garda Victim Liaison Officer or your local superintendent.
You will receive a reply within 21 days.
Further information is available in the Garda Síochána Victims Charter (pdf).
Where to apply
Victim Liaison Officer
Community Relations Section
Tel:+353 (0)1 6663802