Justice Minister David Ford has welcomed the improved rights for victims of crime, as Northern Ireland introduces the EU Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection they should receive.
The EU Directive was published on 25 October 2012. Its purpose is to ensure that all victims of crime receive appropriate protection and support, are able to participate in criminal proceedings and are recognised and treated in a respectful, sensitive and professional manner, without discrimination, in their contact with criminal justice organisations, and victim support and restorative justice services.
David Ford said: “I welcome the transposition of the EU Directive today. As Justice Minister I want to ensure that victims of crime receive the necessary information and support to enable them to participate effectively in the criminal justice process. The Directive places a greater focus on dealing effectively with the needs of victims and the importance of providing a service tailored to their individual needs”.
In Northern Ireland, the Directive has been put into law, primarily through the Victim Charter, with effect from 13 November 2015.
David Ford continued: “The Victim Charter, which is placed on a statutory footing today, sets out how victims of crime should be treated and the standards of service they are entitled to receive from criminal justice service providers. The transposition of the EU Directive will see the rights of victims clearly set out and further strengthened.”
Notes to editors:
1. The proposal for the Directive was published by the European Commission on 18 May 2011.The Directive includes provisions on:
- information and support, including the right to receive information and the right to access victim support services;
- participation in criminal proceedings, such as the right to be heard and the right to reimbursement of expenses;
- recognition of vulnerability and protection of victims, for example the right to protection and the identification of vulnerable victims; and
- training of practitioners, including the police, prosecutors, court staff, and victim support staff and volunteers.
2. The Victim Charter advises victims of crime about their entitlements and the standards of service that they can expect to receive when they come in contact with the criminal justice system.It has been placed on a statutory footing, following approval by the Assembly on Monday 19 October.
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