Written answers

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Department of Justice and Equality

Victim Support Services

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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412. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she has considered the matter subsequent to her Department’s analysis of issues and supports needed for victims of crime post court hearings including follow-up and psychological support; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49194/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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I would like to thank the Deputy for raising this important matter. Reforming the system to better support vulnerable victims as they come into contact with our criminal justice system is a priority for this Government and is being done through the implementation of Supporting a Victim’s Journey- our detailed and ambitious plan to implement the recommendations of the O'Malley Review.

As part of this work,my Department has undertaken a review of the supports and funding of civil society organisations providing frontline services in order to identify where gaps may exist and how to bridge them. Specific geographical areas and categories of victims that are not adequately covered by NGO supports have been identified and my Department is engaging with relevant NGO partners to agree revised funding to ensure that we meet the gaps identified. This piece of work will be completed shortly.

To promote more sustainable service delivery and planning, we are also offering multi-annual funding commitments to key NGOs we work with and where funding covers staff salaries. These funding grants cover accompaniment to court, to Garda interviews and to sexual assault treatment units and emotional support.

While the provision of counselling services is not directly under my remit and falls to Tusla and the Department of Health, I can confirm that both are represented on the O'Malley implementation group. All Departments and agencies on the implementation group are committed to delivering the recommendations as set out in Supporting a Victim's Journeyand to providing all relevant supports for victims of crime.

It is important to add, however, that my Department is working to create a victim-centred system that supports and empowers victims and gives them the confidence to engage with all services knowing they will be supported, informed and treated with respect and dignity at every point and by every person they come into contact with. The supports being introduced will be provided regardless of whether or not criminal proceedings are in train and will extend beyond the trial and verdict because victims do not stop needing support at the end of a trial.

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