Monday 16 September 2019

Wicklow ranks second in crime helpline calls

Eimear Dodd

Around ten per cent of calls to the Crime Victims Helpline in 2018 came from Wicklow, according to the service's annual report.

The garden county had second-highest percentage of contacts with the service. Dublin was at the top of the league with 41 per cent of calls to the listening service.

While the service was contacted by people from every county across the country, it was identified that Wicklow was overrepresented in the contact figures relative to the county's population. Less than one per cent of contacts to the service came from Roscommon and Leitrim.

The Crime Victims Helpline 2018 report, which was released this week, recorded a 52 per cent increase in calls to the service since 2015. This increase was partly attributed to a growing awareness of the volunteer-led service's availability following campaigns to raise the organisation's profile including adverts in cinemas.

The listening and support service for victims of crime responded to a total of 4,463 contacts in 2018 including 3,581 calls, 600 emails and 151 text messages. Over three-quarters of the calls received were directly from victims of crime themselves though family members and social workers also made contact with the organisation on behalf of victims. People got in touch with the organisation primarily for emotional support and information about the criminal justice system or other local support services. The helpline also made over 2,376 referrals to other organisations and services in 2018, most frequently to the Garda Victim Services Offices. Referrals were also made to the FLAC (Free Legal Aid Centre), GPs or health professionals and counselling services.

Assault and harrassment were the most common crimes experienced by people who contacted the service in 2018. People also contacted the service following incidents of burglary, theft, road traffic accidents and anti-social behaviour.

Bray People