Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017

7.

Information on first contact

7. (1) Subject to subsection (2), where a victim first contacts or is contacted by the Garda Síochána or the Ombudsman Commission in relation to an alleged offence, the Garda Síochána or the Ombudsman Commission, as the case may be, shall offer the victim information relating to the following:

(a) services providing support for victims including, where relevant, appropriate specialist services (which may include psychological support services) and services providing alternative accommodation;

(b) the procedure for making a complaint in relation to an offence;

(c) where any enquiries by a victim relating to a complaint which he or she has made may be addressed;

(d) the circumstances in which a victim may be entitled to assistance in the form of interpretation and translation;

(e) the role of the victim in the criminal justice process;

(f) any particular measures, procedures or arrangements which are available to victims who are resident in a Member State other than the Member State where the alleged offence was committed;

(g) any particular measures, procedures or arrangements which are available to a victim who is a child;

(h) how and under what conditions a victim may obtain protection including by way of protection measures;

(i) any scheme relating to compensation for injuries suffered as a result of a crime;

(j) the power of a court to make a compensation order under section 6 of the Act of 1993;

(k) a victim’s right to give evidence or make submissions under section 5 of the Act of 1993;

(l) the procedures for making a complaint to the Garda Síochána, the Ombudsman Commission, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Courts Service, the Irish Prison Service, the director of a children detention school or the clinical director of a designated centre, as the case may be, in respect of any alleged breach of rights or obligations arising under this Act;

(m) restorative justice schemes, where available;

(n) the types of cases in which legal advice and legal aid may be available to a victim;

(o) any entitlement to expenses arising from the participation of a victim in any proceedings relating to an offence.

(2) The extent and detail of information offered to a victim under subsection (1) shall be determined by the Garda Síochána or the Ombudsman Commission, as the case may be, by reference to the type or nature of the alleged offence and any specific needs and personal circumstances of the victim which are identified.

(3) Where a victim requests any information which is offered to him or her under subsection (1)

(a) he or she may specify in his or her request whether the information is to be provided orally or in writing, including by electronic means, and

(b) he or she shall be provided with such information—

(i) as soon as practicable, and

(ii) in so far as is practicable, in the manner specified in his or her request.

(4) Subject to subsection (5), a victim may be accompanied by a person or persons of his or her choice, including his or her legal representative, when contacting the Garda Síochána or the Ombudsman Commission for the first time in respect of an alleged offence.

(5) Where a member of the Garda Síochána or an officer of the Ombudsman Commission, as the case may be, reasonably believes that the presence of a person referred to in subsection (4), including a legal representative, would be contrary to the best interests of the victim or would prejudice any investigation or criminal proceedings regarding the alleged offence, the member of the Garda Síochána or officer of the Ombudsman Commission, as the case may be, may require that the person absent himself or herself prior to the member or officer concerned engaging further with the victim.

(6) Where a member of the Garda Síochána or an officer of the Ombudsman Commission, as the case may be, decides to exclude a person from accompanying a victim pursuant to subsection (5), the member or officer, as the case may be, shall inform the victim that subsection (4) continues to apply and he or she may be accompanied by another person under that subsection and may make such arrangements as are necessary to be so accompanied.

(7) A record shall be kept by the Garda Síochána and the Ombudsman Commission of any decision to exclude a person under subsection (5) and such record shall include the reasons for that decision.

(8) A member of the Garda Síochána or an officer of the Ombudsman Commission who engages with a victim under this section shall ensure that matters in respect of any information offered to and requested by a victim are recorded in accordance with any procedure specified by the Garda Síochána or the Ombudsman Commission, as the case may be.

(9) A member of the Garda Síochána or an officer of the Ombudsman Commission, as the case may be, may, where a victim consents, arrange for the victim to be referred to an appropriate, and where relevant specialist, service which provides support for victims.