Founder and Vice Chairperson
Joan became active in victims’ rights issues following the murder of her son, Russell in 2003 and in 2005 she co-founded AdVIC (“Advocates for the Victims of Homicide”). Having experienced the harsh reality of the trial process through a victim’s lens, it became clear to her that neither the victims nor their families had any voice in the judicial process. Since this time, Joan has been a consistent advocate for the families of homicide victims to ensure that they are not ignored within the criminal justice system and to expeditiously bring about fairer treatment for families during the whole legal process. In 2006, Joan became the first victim of crime to address the Judicial Studies Institute and she has given numerous talks on the rights of the victims and their families. Joan was Chair of AdVIC from 2010-13.
On the 19th of December 2000, my life and the lives of my entire family changed forever when my beautiful Daddy Paig Clinton, aged 59, was murdered in the course of a robbery in Ardee Co Louth. From that day onwards, my battle with the justice system started. It was only then I realized that we as a family had no rights whatsoever in this country’s justice system and that the perpetrators had all the rights. This was so frustrating and stressful and made me so angry, angry also that as a result of this my grieving process never really happened. I felt totally helpless. Daddy had no voice due to the violent actions of others. After over four years of frustration with the justice system, I contacted AdVIC and vowed to help other families that had been bereaved by homicide, so their traumatic experience would be made easier than ours was.
My only son Jimmy aged 20 was killed in Sligo town by a psychiatric patient at 1 pm on 24 February
2018, while he was getting ready to go to work. Life for our family will never be the same, we will
never come to terms with the entire shock and loss of the horrific way Jimmy was taken from us.
We had to fight the system for more than five years, the Coroners Inquest was cancelled five times
at short notice, it eventually took place over four years later in May 2022 with a verdict of Unlawful
I reached out to AdVIC shortly after Jimmy’s death, our family was given great support and
counselling. AdVIC have been with us every step of the way including the murder trial in July 2019,
the coroner’s inquest and at the High Court in March 2023 when we received an “apology” from the
HSE Mental Services, Sligo/Leitrim for the breeches of the duty in the care provided. The assailant
was found innocent by reason of insanity at his trial and committed to the Central Mental Hospital.
Having gone through the above I want to try and support other people and families in any way I can
who have to go through the ordeal of losing a loved one to homicide.
I joined the AdVIC committee, in April 2023.
I joined AdVIC nine years ago and now I look after the organisation’s finances. In May 2006, my eldest daughter Karen had just qualified as a medical doctor and was looking forward to a great career. Karen was only 23 years of age when her life was cut short as she was murdered in Galway on the 12th of June 2006. On receiving this news, our lives changed forever as a family. There is no going forward after losing a child to murder.
It was 16 years since my son John was murdered. Listening to the radio one day, it dawned on me that nothing had changed with the Criminal Justice system in all that time. I was livid, and I wondered what I could do about bringing a change. I found a group of people who were in the same situation as I was, and we came together to form AdVIC. It has given me great strength to carry on as best I can after losing my lovely son.
John was a member of
I worked at Victim Support as a Family of murder victims’ service coordinator and for two and a half years as a coordinator of Support after Homicide. After a few years’ break, I decided to join AdVIC to continue my work and offer my experience of supporting families and friends of murder victims.