Written Answers. - Tourism Victim Support Service.

Bernard Allen

Question:

843 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation if he will make a statement on the activities of the tourism victim support service since its inception in 1994; the number of cases it has referred to the Garda in that time; and the financial support being given by his Department to the service. [28348/98]

The tourist victim support service – TVSS – was set up in April 1994 and is run by the victim support organisation, from premises provided by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform in Harcourt Square. The service provides emotional and practical support – assistance in replacing passports, travel documents, travellers' cheques, etc. – to tourist victims of crime, following referral by the Garda. No direct financial aid is provided to victims, although benefit-in-kind is provided by the tourism industry. This includes emergency accommodation, clothing and toiletries, travel tickets, meal vouchers, etc. A freephone helpline was recently set up.

Since its inception, the Garda has referred the following numbers of cases to the service:

1994

267

1995

375

1996

408

1997

352

1998

472

The high number of cases for 1998 has been attributed to the success of the awareness campaign undertaken by the TVSS, which included the highlighting of its existence on Garda training courses.
Bord Fáilte and Dublin Tourism last year provided a total of £15,000 to the tourist victim support service. Bord Fáilte has also recently initiated a fund-raising appeal on behalf of the TVSS, which it is undertaking with the Irish Hotel Federation and the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, and a number of firms benefiting from tourism have been targeted. I am fully supportive of TVSS and Bord Fáilte's initiative and have also written individually to each of the targeted firms in an effort to strengthen the appeal.