An advocacy group for families of murder victims has seen a big increase in requests for counselling since it began offering the service to children and adolescents at the beginning of the year.

But Advic says it is struggling to maintain its services.

Moira Lawson, a member of Advic, said counselling is as important now as it ever was.

Her brother, Alastair, was murdered four years ago but she said she is learning to live with the pain and the past few weeks have been particularly hard.

"With Covid it's been really hard ... I've only ever had four panic attacks in my life and I've had two in the past week".

Ms Lawson lives alone and says the restrictions have meant more time to think.

She said she could not survive without the support of Advic but said the organisation is struggling to maintain its services.

Annual fundraising events have had to be cancelled as a result of Covid-19 which, she said, has put immense pressure on Advic which offers the counselling free of charge.

She said: "We do need help to maintain this service that is so greatly needed within Ireland as we are one of the only services to offer specialised homicide trauma counselling."

Advic is making a public appeal for donations.