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

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 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

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