Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Question 79: To ask the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will outline his response to the findings of the report published by the Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime, which found that two out of every five of the victims surveyed were dissatisfied with their dealings with the Garda; if the Garda authorities have been asked to address this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43009/10]
The Gardaí enjoy the confidence of the public generally. The most recent evidence for this is the Quarterly National Household Survey of the Central Statistics Office, in relation to Crime and Victimisation in 2010 which found that 67% of those surveyed rated the Gardaí in their local area as good or very good.
The report referred to by the Deputy was commissioned by the Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime to establish, from the victim's perspective, the needs of victims of crime and their families and the extent to which those needs are met by voluntary organisations and the criminal justice agencies. It showed that 70% of victims were satisfied or very satisfied with the sensitivity of the Gardaí in taking statements. It is a matter of concern, however, that 40% of respondents to a questionnaire expressed themselves as being dissatisfied with their overall dealings with An Garda Síochána.
The fieldwork for the research was conducted in 2009. In July 2010, I launched the Victims Charter and Guide to the Criminal Justice System. This includes a Garda Victims Charter, which gives detailed undertakings in relation to what services victims of crime are entitled to expect from Gardaí. It also provides contact details for those victims who feel that they have not received the level of service they are entitled to and who wish to make a complaint. In launching the Charter, I emphasised that I would like to see all the criminal justice agencies implement their victims charters in full and I urged that monitoring be put in place to assess the level of implementation.
The Garda authorities themselves recognise the need to continuously improve service provision. To this end, the Garda Commissioner established the Garda National Crime Victims Forum to consult with voluntary organisations providing assistance to victims of crime. The Forum met for the first time in March this year and a further meeting will take place at the end of November 2010. I am satisfied that it is through monitoring their own activities and a co-operative approach between the Gardaí and victims' representatives that service provided to victims ratings will be enhanced.