Wick­low ranks sec­ond in crime helpline calls

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS - By 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.

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