A charity which provides support services to victims of crime is reporting a significant rise in demand for its services.

Victim Support at Court, which offers accompaniment throughout criminal proceedings, assisted 1,365 victims of crime, families and witnesses in 2018 - an increase of 37% over the last two years.

The service provides practical advice to victims about the court process, as well as a private space for them within the court complex.

The general manager of V-SAC, Dympna Kenny, said for victims, attending court can be difficult and traumatic and said the service is committed to making the process less intimidating.

This morning the charity hosted a briefing for judges, the DPP's office and gardaí outlining its work and marking European Day for Victims of Crime.

According to the charity, during 2018 its volunteers provided court accompaniment to 1,365 victims of crime, their families and witnesses in 85 pre-trial visits, 356 trials, 15 retrials, 85 sentencing hearings and 11 appeals.

53% of the cases were rape or sexual assault trials and 22% involved murder, attempted murder or manslaughter.