First in-person meeting of Forum focused on rights of victims of crime
· Governmental agencies and approximately 70 NGOs sharing knowledge, expertise and potential issues
The Forum, which is looking at how the rights of victims of crime can be improved through review of legislation, information exchange, and service provision, was established earlier this year and held its first meeting online in March.
The Forum includes a number of Governmental agencies and approximately 70 NGOs providing supports and services to victims of crime.
Minister McEntee said,
We know that being the victim of a crime can be very traumatic and difficult, and we’re determined to ensure that the necessary range of supports and services to help is available.
The Victims’ Forum provides a space for the organisations working to help victims, both Government and NGO, to articulate their views and share their experience in order to help us all make real improvements in how victims and survivors are treated.”
The Forum allows participants address issues in relation to strengthening national coordination, awareness raising, and protection of victims, and referral of victims between agencies as necessary for access to services.
Expertise is drawn from national experts, including academic experts, policy development personnel and service providers. At today’s event there were a number of presentations including from the Parole Board, the Legal Aid Board, GSOC and An Garda Síochána.
Victim participation in the forum will be invited in the appropriate circumstances.
Findings from these forums will assist the Department of Justice in developing further supports for victims.
Minister McEntee added,
The Forum is a means for us to engage with organisations working with victims of crime, to learn from their expertise, and their knowledge of the issues victims of crime are facing.
The benefit of this resource cannot be overstated as we work to ensure that all of our strategies and initiatives are developed using a victim-centred approach.
I believe this collaboration will bring very real and consistent benefits for victims in practice and the Forum will make a significant contribution to enhancing how we provide services to victims and in strengthening our multi-sector response in this area.
The forum is co-chaired by the Head of Policy for Criminal Justice at the Department of Justice, Ben Ryan and Maeve Lewis, CEO of One in Four.
It will meet twice a year, and meets a commitment laid out in the Justice Plan 2022 by Minister McEntee.
The Department of Justice has allocated €5.8m to promote and assist the development of specific support services for victims of crime within the criminal justice system in 2023.