Service aims to reduce trauma of crime victims


AN initiative to provide immediate assistance to crime victims treated in hospital to overcome their trauma has been announced.

The project, backed by Victim Support, was announced yesterday by Ms Julie Chimes, a company director who was attacked in her home and stabbed 25 times by a paranoid schizophrenic.

A spokesman for Victim Support said the project was prompted by the number of crime victims presenting themselves to the association following injury as a result of a criminal act.

"Many of these people have attended a hospital casualty unit to have their injuries attended to. Very few, if any, received any emotional support," he said.

Afterwards a number developed psychological disorders which resulted in some cases in alcohol for mediation dependency, which can often result in marriage breakups, and difficulties at work.

"Victim Support felt that by providing what we refer to as `Early Emotional First Aid' we could assist many of these victims in overcoming their trauma and help them back to health and a normal existence by means of our service," he said.

A pilot service will be operated in the Meath Hospital by volunteers. "Crime victims presenting at the Meath Hospital will receive a letter from the hospital informing them of the existence of the service."

The service is free and will operate under a code of practice set out by the advisory board for the project and agreed by the hospital.

"We expect that this service will be very successful and it will be our intention to extend this new service for victims to all hospital casualty units. Funding from this project has come from the Eastern Health Board and it would be our intention to seek additional funding from other health board regions as tee service would extend to them."