Victim support services are provided by the voluntary sector. State funding is available for such organisations via Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Victim Support, including court accompaniment is generally available throughout the state. Facilities for victim support services are included as a matter of course in the design of new courthouses, and in the refurbishment of existing courthouses, where space and planning restrictions allow. For some types of violent crime, the Gardaí may assign an officer to support a victim.
A victim may be entitled to legal aid in civil proceedings, e.g. an application for relief pursuant to the Domestic Violence Act. Potential cases are subject to means testing and merit-testing. In general, separate representation is not available to a victim in any criminal proceeding. The State prosecutes the case on behalf of its citizens. However, where a victim's sexual history is raised as an issue for cross-examination, representation can be granted by the trial Judge in relation to that specific issue and legal aid is available in all such cases without the need for means testing.
The Victims' Charter and guide to the criminal justice system provides a non-statutory written framework of rights and entitlements against which crime victims, including victims of violence against women, can measure the level and standard of treatment received in their dealings across all sections of the criminal justice system. It is available on the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform web site at <www.justice.ie>. Ireland is currently having the Charter reviewed by the Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime.
Source of Information
Response of the Government of Ireland to the questionnaire on violence against women, February 2009