Ford acknowledges contribution of victim support volunteers

Date published: 19 November 2015

Justice Minister, David Ford has acknowledged the important work of Victim Support NI as he attended their Annual General Meeting in Belfast.

Minister of Justice David Ford, MLA

The theme of the event was ‘Supporting people affected by crime in Northern Ireland’.The Minister highlighted the progress that has been made to improve the experience of victims and witnesses as they play their vital role in the criminal justice system.

David Ford said:“It is crucial that victims of crime receive appropriate support and services, given the vital role they play in the criminal justice system. During my time in office there have been significant developments made to improve both access to justice and the experience of victims and witnesses.

“Central to the improvements made has been the publication of the five year Victim and Witness strategy. It aims to provide better quality services that respond to the needs of victims and witnesses, securing a more positive experience for all those who come into contact with the criminal justice system. The strategy is now in its third year and there have been a number of major initiatives coming out of it.

“One of the most important elements has been the publication of the Victim Charter which clearly sets out the entitlements of victims and the services they can expect to receive. That Charter was placed on a statutory footing last week, fulfilling the EU Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime.”

David Ford also paid tribute to the contribution of Victim Support NI and their volunteers. He said: “Recognising Victim Support as a key partner in the criminal justice system, I want to acknowledge the continuing excellent work of this organisation and the team of dedicated volunteers who provide services to people when they need it most. Victim Support is also well placed to help victims understand their rights under the Charter and explain what should be expected from the criminal justice system.

“I am very impressed by the progress made by Victim Support since I was on the first committee in the 1980’s.

In conclusion the Minister said: “We all want to achieve better outcomes for victims of crime. My Department will continue to work with Victim Support and other criminal justice services providers to improve the service and support provided to those affected by crime.”


Notes to editors: 

1.The five-year victim and witness strategy, ‘Making a Difference’, was published on 13 June 2015. View the strategy and action plan here.

2.The Victim Charter (Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2015) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015 puts the Victim Charter on a statutory footing from 13 November 2015.

3. The Victim Charter is being used to transpose the EU Directive (2012/29/EU) establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime thus implementing the obligations contained within it.

4. A number of documents are available, some in alternative languages:

  • The main Victim Charter – a Charter for victims of crime
  • A Victim Charter summary (also available in Mandarin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Portuguese)
  • An Easy Read guide to the summary Charter
  • A guide to the Victim Charter for young people by young people
  • A victim of crime information leaflet (also available in Mandarin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Portuguese)

Further information on the Victim Charter, and the documents referred to above can be found at here.

5. Victim Support NI is an independent, voluntary sector organisation which receives £1.8m in funding from the Department of Justice to provide the following services to victims and witnesses of crime:

  • The Community Service helps those affected by crime deal with its personal and practical impact, by providing emotional support, information, advocacy and advice about dealing with the different agencies within the criminal justice system.
  • The Criminal Injuries Compensation Service offers assistance to applicants claiming Criminal Injuries Compensation and also assists victims make a Victim Personal Statement; and
  • The Witness Service helps adult prosecution witnesses before, during and after they attend the Crown, Magistrates’ or Youth Courts. The service offers emotional support, information on the court process etc and offers a pre-trial visit with the aim of helping witnesses give their best evidence.

6. All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 0769 971 5440 and your call will be returned.

Share this page

Back to top