'Help us improve the service provided to victims and witnesses of crime,’ urges Inspectorate

Victims and witnesses of crime are being urged to play their part in improving the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland by contributing their views in a new survey by Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJI).

The confidential survey which was launched today (20 September 2010) by the independent Inspectorate, aims to collate the first hand experiences of victims and witnesses and how they were treated on their journey through the criminal justice system.
“We are conducting this survey over a six-week period to learn more about how those who have come into contact with the police, the prosecution service or the courts in the last three years felt they were treated,” said Derek Williamson, who is leading the inspection into the treatment of victims and witnesses for CJI.
Mr Williamson stressed that all information given to the Inspectorate would be anonymised and treated as confidential. Anyone wishing to speak with the inspection team in more detail would also have the opportunity to do so confidentially.
“The information we receive will only be used to assist us with our new inspection of how victims and witnesses are treated and to help us make recommendations that will improve the experience of victims and witness of crime in the future,” he said.
Mr Williamson said that while CJI was keen to hear from all victims or witnesses over the past three years, Inspectors particularly wished to hear from those people who had been a victim or witness to a serious crime; such as an incident involving a death, a sexual crime, a serious assault or an incident of domestic violence.
Anyone wishing to contribute to this important inspection can do so by logging onto the CJI website - www.cjini.org - and participating in a short victims and witnesses survey.
“Victims and witnesses who do not have access to the internet or would prefer to complete the survey by hand can do so by contacting CJI by phone on 028 90 258000 or by writing to Victims and Witnesses Survey, CJI, 6th Floor, 14 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7BA and we will be happy to post out a copy of the short questionnaire with a return envelope.
“We will also be happy to make arrangements to assist those with specific needs who want to participate in the survey,” he concluded.
Anyone wishing to participate in the survey will be able to do so from today (20 September) until the closing date of 31 October 2010.