Calls to crime victims helpline surge 12%

Telephone calls and other contacts made with the National Crime Victims Helpline rose 12% last year.

Of the 3,253 contacts made with the service last year, 67% were from females and 33% from males.

The helpline’s 2011 ann-ual report shows that 36% of all calls made were about an assault, up from 23% in 2010. There was also an increase in the number of calls about sexual violence — from 12% in 2010 to 17% last year.

Most of the other calls (14%) were about prop-erty-related crime, such as robbery and burglary.

About half of people contacting the helpline are from Dublin. While calls were received from every county, Cork, Wicklow, and Galway showed the highest incidence of calls from outside Dublin.

Helpline co-ordinator, Maeve Ryan, said they were not surprised at the increase in calls for 2011 as more people became aware of the service. However, she said, there was a significant gap between the number of people affected by crime and those who contact the service.

“It is really only a small proportion of crime victims who contact our service and we would like to see an increase because for most people being a victim of crime is an extremely tough experience for them.

She said the main reason people called the helpline was for emotional support.

“Our volunteers were able to assist people who wished to discuss what happened to them and to describe how the crime has impacted on their lives.

“For people who have experienced crime we firstly advise them to contact the gardaí as the information they provide may not just solve their crime but also provide information that can assist in resolving other crimes or perhaps ensure that some further crime does not occur.”

Ms Ryan said many people would deal with crime by talking with family and friends, although independent assistance might be helpful for others.

“The Crime Victims Helpline provides crime victims with an opportunity to discuss their feelings in a confidential manner with a trained volunteer.”

* The national helpline number is 1850 211407 and the number for text messages is 085 1337711.

Call count

* Total contacts last year: 6,417

* Incoming contacts: 3,253, including 2,868 by telephone and 385 by email, fax, and text

* Support contacts made: 3,164


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