GALLERY: Kilkenny leads the way in support for victims of crime

Community: Victims of crime suffer “life-changing” ordeals and must be supported

Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

Email:

darren.hassett@kilkennypeople.ie

The Kilkenny/Carlow Victim and Community Engagement Office helps victims of crime and has now been expanded to include a community engagement dynamic.

The office was officially opened last week by Retired District Court Judge, Gillian Hussey and Chief Superintendent of the Kilkenny/Carlow Garda Division, Dominic Hayes.

Mr Hayes said the office - established in 2015 - interacts and supports victims of crime in a confidential and quiet environment away from the busy thoroughfare of Kilkenny Garda Station.

He said: “We want people to come in. It’s the opening of our doors. That’s how we protect and serve the community, by people coming in and telling us what they want.

"It’s not a new dawn. We always deal with victims, but it’s a movement to making sure the victim is minded, protected and helped along what can be a very difficult road in the criminal justice system.”

He added that the community element will see Gardaí out in local communities where they hadn’t been seen previously in order to achieve greater visibility and engagement.

Chairperson of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr David Fitzgerald, said: “It’s a vulnerability we all face as potential victims of crime. Someone dealing with being a victim of crime, it’s a life-changing incident. They remember when they were assaulted, their home burgled.”

Superintendent Derek Hughes, District Officer, said the supports here for victims of crime go “beyond national policy” with enhanced victim feedback and interaction during the course of an investigation.

The clinic will be open on the second Wednesday of every month between 2pm and 5pm. If that does not suit then another date and time can be arranged.