20pc surge in calls to crime victims' service
THE numbers seeking support from the Crime Victims Helpline soared by a fifth last year.
Figures in its annual report for 2010, which was released yesterday, show that nearly one in four calls was made by someone who had experienced an assault.
Around 3,000 people contacted the helpline last year, while burglary, sexual violence, harassment and intimidation topped the list as the most commonly reported crimes to the service.
About 60pc of victims required some level of emotional support.
Maeve Ryan, helpline co-ordinator, believes the surge in calls reflects the pressing need for increased back-up supports for crime victims.
"Our volunteers are trained to understand the effects of crime, and to respond to callers with care and empathy," she said.
She stressed that many callers suffered from what she described as "secondary victimisation" because coping with the complexities of the justice system in the aftermath of a crime was a struggle for many people.
"We had 27pc of callers mainly requiring information on the justice system and support services for crime victims," she said.
Judge Gillian Hussey, patron of the Crime Victims Helpline, commended the volunteers for their sterling efforts to help victims of crime overcome their ordeals.
"We have a great team of volunteers, who provide an excellent service, at no cost to the State," she said.