A policing watchdog is to carry out a study on the experiences of crime victims in dealing with gardaí.
The Policing Authority has commissioned new research because it wants detailed insight into the victims’ view of gardaí and their willingness to report crime again in the future.
The watchdog said it wanted to carry out research on the experience of crime victims in relation to their interaction with An Garda Síochána, particularly following the enactment of the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime Act) 2017.
Under the legislation, which came into effect in November 2017, victims have a statutory right to a written acknowledgment when they report a crime as well as a copy of their own statement.
They are also entitled to be given a point of contact within An Garda Síochána as well as to be notified of all major developments in an investigation, including a decision not to prosecute a suspect and when a convicted offender is given a release date from prison.
Other rights include information on victim support services and an individual assessment of their protection needs.
The Policing Authority said the legislation establishing the Authority provided for it to undertake or commission research which it believed would promote an improvement in standards and public awareness as well as contributing to a reduction in the number of complaints against gardaí.
It noted that a 2010 report on research carried out by the Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime identified a number of issues relating to victims’ experiences with gardaí including under-reporting and in particular, the provision of information by gardaí in the initial stages of an investigation.
The authority said it appeared that no similar research had been carried out since then, although there had been a number of initiatives at national and EU level in recent years regarding victims of crime.
It said ensuring the greater protection of victims was now “an important part of the criminal justice system in Ireland”.
A Policing Authority spokesperson one of its priorities for 2019 was to “broaden and deepen the range of policing performance measures”.
The Policing Authority indicated it will spend around €30,000 on the research.