Helpline for victims of crime sees 102% increase in referrals to mental health services

The national Crime Victims Helpline (CVH) said harassment and assault continued to be the most common types of crimes for which callers sought help
Helpline for victims of crime sees 102% increase in referrals to mental health services

Muireann Duffy

The national Crime Victims Helpline (CVH) noted a 102 per cent increase in referrals to mental health services last year, according to figures released on Wednesday.

The helpline allows victims of crime to speak with staff and volunteers who offer emotional support, information about the criminal justice system, information on victim's rights and compensation, and guidance on further supports available to them.

The report found over 4,967 contacts were made in 2021, via call, text, email and post, while 196 referrals were made to counselling and mental health support services around the country.

Victims of over 28 types of crime contacted the CVH, including those who had been affected by coercive control, criminal damage and online fraud.

The figures showed harassment and assault continued to be the most common types of crime experienced by callers, similar to previous years.

CVH executive director, Michele Puckhaber said last year saw the "full impact of Covid" on their services, adding: "Life was difficult and full of uncertainty due to the pandemic.

"When the trauma of a crime was added onto that, many people felt pushed to their breaking point."

Commending the work of the CVH, retired District Court judge and CVH patron Gillian Hussey said: "By answering calls, addressing queries, providing information, making referrals and offering much needed emotional support, Crime Victims Helpline staff and volunteers have offered light, hope and healing to victims of crime.

"I can give no higher praise."

The Crime Victims Helpline is free to call on 116 006, and can also be contacted by text (085-133 7711) or email (info@crimevictimehelpline.ie). More information can also be found on CrimeVictimsHelpline.ie.

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