Dermot Ahern TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, today launched two new websites to help victims of crime.

The Minister said his continuing focus was on helping victims and delivering legislation to assist them. He said ground breaking new legislation for victims should be enacted by the end of the year.

The Minister said the new websites were aimed at helping the voluntary groups which help victims and the victims directly themselves.

The Minister said: "Anything that can help someone who is a victim of crime has to be supported. The websites allow victims access to vital information and streamline what support is available in a simple way often during traumatic circumstances in their lives."

"But we also need to press ahead with reforming laws. The Criminal Procedure Bill 2008 is currently in the Seanad. Its main features will:"

• Reform the victim impact statement mechanism in order to grant victim status to next of kin in homicide cases.
• Enable cases to be re-opened after an acquittal in certain instances such as on a point of law or where new evidence arises.
• Provide for new prosecutions where there is evidence that the original acquittal was tainted by interference with the trial process, including intimidation of witnesses.
• Introduce measures to restrict unjustified and vexatious imputations at trial against the character of a deceased or incapacitated victim or witness.

The new websites are www.victimsofcrimeoffice.ie and www.csvc.ie. The Victims of Crime Office works to support the development of competent, caring and efficient services to victims of crime. The main task of the Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime (CSVC) is to provide funding to voluntary sector organisations engaged in the provision of services and supports to victims of crime.

23 September 2009

Note for Editors

The Victims of Crime Office is an executive office of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, established in September, 2008.

The Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime is an independent body, operating under the aegis of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Its secretariat is provided by the Victims of Crime Office. The Commission commenced its work in 2005.

The Victims of Crime Consultative Forum allows voluntary sector organisations funded by the Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime opportunities to influence strategies and policies which will have an impact on the lives of victims (more information at (www.csvc.ie).