Victims’ groups call for review of how sexual violence cases are handled

Victims’ groups have called for a review of how Northern Ireland’s criminal justice system deals with sexual violence cases.

A letter from Victim Support NI, the Women’s Aid Federation, Nexus NI and the Men’s Advisory Project was published in the Belfast Telegraph and The Irish News today.

In it, they state: “We have together written to the Permanent Secretary in the Department of Justice and to the Lord Chief Justice to formally request an immediate independent review of how the criminal justice system handles sexual violence cases.

“No review should be completed without victims/survivors’ voices and so we have requested that the review body should include representatives of victim centred organisations who are acutely aware of how the system is experienced by victims/survivors.”

It should consider “how present processes impact negatively on victims/survivors, what new processes can be adopted, what legislative changes need to be made and how adequate and effective support for victims/survivors can be secured throughout the whole of the process”.

Senior judges in Northern Ireland are already considering what changes can be made without the need for primary legislation.