Who is a victim of crime?

A victim is someone who has suffered harm or economic loss because of a crime.

Harm can be something that others can see or measure. For example, physical harm or a loss of your money or possessions. Harm can sometimes be difficult for others to see or measure. For example, emotional or psychological harm that impacts your mental health.

Am I still the victim of crime if:

1. A family member died as the result of a crime?

Yes. You are a victim of crime if your family member has died because of a crime.

2. The person who committed the crime is:

  • not identified
  • not brought to the courts, or
  • found not guilty at their trial?

Yes. You are still entitled to all of the rights explained on this website.

3. I don’t make a criminal complaint?

Yes. You are still a victim of crime:

  • if you don’t make a criminal complaint
  • if you decide you wish to withdraw your complaint
  • if the police or prosecution decide not to continue with your complaint at any point

What if a police officer committed a crime?

This website concentrates on how to make a complaint to the police when you are the victim of a crime. If you are the victim of a crime committed by a police officer, the procedure is similar and you have the same rights.

If a police officer commits a crime, you can complain to the Garda (or police) Ombudsman. To read more about the Garda Ombudsman see their website.

You can also report a crime committed by a police officer to the police, for example, if you are the victim of domestic abuse and the offender is a police officer. You can report this and the police will make sure that it is investigated. They will also take steps to make sure that you are protected from further abuse.

What if I was the victim of a hate crime?

A hate crime is a crime that was committed because of who you are. Hate crimes are message crimes, they deliver the message that members of entire communities are not safe or welcome in Ireland. If you were the victim of a hate crime you will get extra support.

When assessing if a victim needs special protection or special measures, the police must consider whether you were the victim of a hate crime. They must investigate whether the offence was committed with a bias or discriminatory motive, which may be related to your personal characteristics (the things that make you who you are, such as your nationality, race or sexual orientation). If the offence was motivated by these characteristics, it might have been a hate crime.

You might have been the victim of a hate crime if you think the crime was committed because of who are you, due to your:

(a) race,
(b) colour,
(c) nationality,
(d) religion,
(e) national or ethnic origin,
(f) descent,
(g) gender,
(h) sex characteristics,
(i) sexual orientation

Some crimes will be hate crimes if there was a bias motivation because of who you are such as an attack on you or your property. For other crimes the fact that the offending person was motivated by hate will be considered at the sentencing.

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