Terms of Reference

Inquiry Into The Criminal Justice Services Available To Victims And Witnesses Of Crime In Northern Ireland

Context of the Inquiry

The Department of Justice intends to develop a new strategy for victims and witnesses of crime in Northern Ireland with the aim of improving access to justice by improving the services available to victims and witnesses who engage with the criminal justice system. The Committee for Justice will undertake an inquiry that will inform and influence the development and content of the new strategy.

Aim of the Inquiry

The aim of the inquiry is to identify the outcomes that the Department of Justice’s proposed new strategy for victims and witnesses of crime should deliver and make recommendations on the priorities and actions that need to be included in the plan to achieve these.

Terms of Reference

The Committee will:

  • Review the effectiveness of the current approach and services provided by the criminal justice agencies1 to victims and witnesses of crime
  • Identify the key issues impacting on the experiences of victims and witnesses of crime of the criminal justice system and any gaps in the services provided
  • Identify and analyse alternative approaches and models of good practice in other jurisdictions in terms of policy interventions and programmes
  • Consider what priorities and actions need to be taken to improve the services provided to victims and witnesses of crime
  • Report to the Assembly on its findings and recommendations by February 2012.

(1Criminal Justice Agencies includes the PSNI, the PPS, the NICTS, the NI Prison Service, the Probation Board for Northern Ireland, the Youth Justice Agency and the Compensation Agency)

Approach to be taken

The Inquiry will include evidence based sessions with organisations working with victims and witnesses of crime and key criminal justice stakeholders.
The Inquiry will also seek written submissions and will take account of existing reports and research papers.
The Inquiry will commission relevant research papers from the Assembly Research Service.

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