The number of victims of crime who were referred to mental health services rose by 102% last year, compared to 2020, according to the Crime Victims Helpline (CVH).

CVH said the increase was due to the impact Covid-19 had on service users.

According to its annual report, published today, the Crime Victims Helpline recorded over 4,967 contacts in 2021.

196 referrals were made to various counselling and mental health support services.

CVH heard from victims of over 28 different types of crime, including coercive control, criminal damage and online fraud.

The most common crimes in 2021 were harassment and assault.

Executive Director Michele Puckhaber said 2021 saw the full impact of the Covid pandemic on service users.

"Life was difficult and full of uncertainty due to the pandemic. When the trauma of a crime was added onto that, many people felt pushed to their breaking point," she said.

The majority of contacts to the helpline (79%) came directly from victims of crime themselves, with 7% coming from relatives or friends of victims, while 4% of contacts came from gardaí, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission or Garda Victim Services Offices and 3% came from members of the public.

CVH said that, similar to previous years, assault and harassment were the main types of crime it was contacted about, with 535 contacts relating to assault in 2021, compared to 655 in 2020.

Last year also saw an increase in contacts relating to cybercrime, with 86 contacts over online fraud, while 54 contacts were made over online harassment.

CVH also said the 3% of its contacts last year came from overseas, many from people who were victims of crime in Ireland and who are now living abroad.

The Crime Victims Helpline provides information and support to all victims of crime in Ireland.

It is a member of the Victims Rights Alliance and can be contacted on 116 006; by texting 085 133 7711; or by emailing info@crimevictimshelpline.ie.