NI: New measures announced to enhance domestic violence court
Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister David Ford has announced new measures to enhance the specialist court listing arrangements in Londonderry Magistrates’ Court.
Since 2011, domestic violence cases in the Londonderry jurisdiction have been heard on specifically assigned days and by the same judge.
The enhanced arrangements include use of body worn video evidence, the introduction of a second remote link for the most vulnerable victims and witnesses to give evidence away from the main courtroom, and improved access for victims to appropriate support services.
Speaking after a visit to Foyle Women’s Aid, Mr Ford said: “It is vital that we continue to support and encourage victims to attend court, give evidence and assert their right to the protection and safeguards of the law.
“The specialist arrangements here in Derry have made a tangible difference to victims of domestic violence and abuse who have to face what can be a daunting and overwhelming journey thorough the criminal justice process. The new measures will bring a range of benefits for victims of crime.
“As well as the introduction of Body Worn Video Technology, which is vital in building cases where victims of domestic violence are too scared or traumatised to see a prosecution through, a range of enhancements are being made to the support services.
“A remote video link is to be introduced, enabling the most vulnerable victims and witnesses to give evidence away from the main courtroom, while engagement between Victim Support NI, Foyle Women’s Aid and the PSNI, will also further improve the quality of services provided.”