Press Release

Assembly Committee for Justice Launches Inquiry into the Experiences of Victims and Witnesses of Crime

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Monday, 10 October 2011

Reference: JUS 02/11/12

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Justice has launched an Inquiry into Criminal Justice Services available to Victims and Witnesses of Crime in Northern Ireland [1] . The aim of the inquiry is to learn from the experiences of people who have either been a victim of, or witness to crime – from dealings with the police, to the quality of information and support provided, and the handling of cases by the Courts Service.

Launching the Inquiry Committee Chairman, Paul Givan said: “Being a victim of, or a witness to, crime can be a very stressful and emotional experience. Lengthy delays, confusing legal processes and poor communication only serve to make the experience even more traumatic.

“It is very important to make sure that the Justice system responds to the needs of victims and witnesses, treats them fairly and respectfully and provides them with appropriate support. For this reason the Committee for Justice intends to look closely at the current system in Northern Ireland, what is good and what needs improvement. We will also be comparing our system with national and international approaches to see if there are any examples of good practice which could be adopted here.

“As well as asking people to write to us, we will also be holding a number of events throughout Northern Ireland where we will take the opportunity to meet with people and hear about their experiences. We are very keen to hear about any ideas people may have on how the system can be improved and any concerns about the system as it is now.

“The evidence we gather and the recommendations made by the Committee will play an important part in informing the work of the Department of Justice on its development of a new strategy to deliver improvements for victims and witnesses of crime. We would encourage individuals, organisations and groups to take this opportunity to get involved in our Inquiry.”

For more information on the Inquiry visit www.niassembly.gov.uk

ENDS


Notes to Editors:
  1. More details on the Committee’s Inquiry, including the Terms of Reference can be found here. The deadline for written submissions to the Committee is Friday 4 November 2011.
Membership of the Committee:

Chairperson: Paul Givan MLA
Deputy Chairperson: Raymond McCartney MLA

Sydney Anderson MLA
Stewart Dickson MLA
Colum Eastwood MLA
Seán Lynch MLA
Jennifer McCann MLA
Basil McCrea MLA
Alban Maginness MLA
Peter Weir MLA
Jim Wells MLA

All enquiries regarding the work of the Committee should be directed to the Committee Clerk:

Christine Darrah
Room 242, Parliament Buildings,
Ballymiscaw, Stormont, Belfast, BT4 3XX
Phone: 028 9052 1629
Fax: 028 9052 1371
E-mail: committee.justice@niassembly.gov.uk

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