NI: David Ford hails Victim Support NI at AGM

Justice Minister David Ford has praised the work of Victim Support NI while addressing attendees at its Annual General Meeting in Clifton House, Belfast.

The theme of the event was Supporting people affected by crime in Northern Ireland.

Mr Ford used the speaking opportunity to highlight progress that has been made in improving the experience of victims and witnesses within Northern Ireland’s criminal justice system.

He 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.”

Mr Ford also described Victim Support NI as a “key partner in the criminal justice system” before saying he was “very impressed” by the work it had carried out since he had served on its committee in the 1980s.

He added: “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.”

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