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The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence.

An Oifig Náisiúnta um Fhoréigean Baile, Gnéasach agus Inscnebhunaithe a Chosc

  1. General Scheme of the Victims of Crime Bill

General Scheme of the Victims of Crime Bill

 

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD., secured Government approval on 14 July for the drafting, on a priority basis, of a new Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill and has published the Heads and General scheme of the Bill at www.justice.ie/en/JELR/pages/Criminal Justice (victims of crime) Bill

The Heads of the Bill were prepared following extensive consultation by the Minister and her Department with statutory agencies, including An Garda Síochána and with advocacy groups representing victims.

The Bill will transpose into Irish law Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime and meet the commitment in the Programme for Government to enact legislation to strengthen the Criminal Justice sector's response to victims and to ensure that they receive appropriate information, advice and other appropriate assistance.

The Bill includes a number of measures for victims (as defined in the Bill) including

  • provision of comprehensive information on the criminal justice system and their role within it and the range of services and entitlements victims may access from their first contact with the Garda Síochána.
  • a written acknowledgement of the making of the complaint by the victim giving contact details where further information can be obtained.
  • provision, on request, with information concerning the progress of the investigation and any court proceedings.
  • an individual assessment to establish the measures, if any, that may be necessary for protection of the victim from any secondary or repeat victimisation, intimidation or retaliation and if they would benefit from special measures provided for in the Bill in the course of the investigation and or during any court proceedings.
  • information, on request, of any decision not to institute a prosecution in relation to the offence committed against them and the right to request a review of that decision.
  • information, on request, from the Irish Prison Service of the release, including temporary release, or escape from custody of any offender who has been convicted of an offence against the victim and who is serving a sentence for that offence.

The Bill provides a statutory obligation on the Garda Síochána, Courts Service, Director of Public Prosecutions, the Irish Prison Service and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission to provide training to staff members who have contact with victims or complainants in the course of their official duties to a level appropriate to that contact so as to increase their awareness of the needs of victims and complainants and to enable them to deal with victims and complainants in an impartial, respectful and professional manner.