An awareness campaign highlighting the rights available to victims of crime has been launched by justice minister Simon Harris.
The campaign – which will run across TV, local and national radio, digital and social – directs people to the VictimsCharter.ie website which sets out rights in an easily accessible manner, and helps victims of crime to locate services and supports available.
Two adverts – ‘Diversity’ and ‘Translations’ – were developed for marginalised, minority and harder-to-reach communities.
Minister Harris said: “We know that being a victim of crime can be traumatic, and victims can understandably struggle with knowing what to do next or what they are legally entitled to when engaging with our criminal justice system.
“It is so important to know that you have rights, you have a voice and that there are supports available to you. That is what this campaign is about – getting people to know their rights, getting victims to recognise VictimsCharter.ie as an important resource to which they can turn to for information and help when they need it most.
“Victims’ rights and supports are available to all, and everyone should be aware of them,” he said.
The 'Diversity' campaign is for marginalised cohorts while 'Translations' is focused on ethnicity and migrant communities. Text from the Victims Charter is shown on faces, translated into various languages including Polish, Mandarin, French, Lithuanian, Arabic and Portuguese.
Minister Harris added: “If you are a victim of crime in Ireland you have rights – that includes everything from interpretation and translation services, to being accompanied by someone at all stages of the process, to information about any release date of the offender.
“I would encourage anyone who has been the victim of a crime to reach out to An Garda Síochána, but to also be aware that supports – such as Crime Victims Helpline on 116006 - are available even if you don’t report the crime.”
The Department of Justice published a new and expanded Victims Charter in 2020 to take account of the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017.
VictimsCharter.ie was launched in 2021 to provide the information in an easily accessible manner.
The journey a victim of crime may face can be divided into three stages:
- Support and reporting stage,
- Courts process,
- Post-trial stage.
VictimsCharter.ie provides victims with the information relevant at each of these stages. It also has a section on their rights and the law.