A new support hub for victims traumatised by crime was opened in the Embassy Building in Londonderry by the Justice Minister Claire Sugden on Tuesday, (July 5).
The new Foyle Hub will allow Victims Support NI offer emotional support and practical help to victims of crime over a vast geographical area including counties Londonderry, Tyrone, Fermanagh and Antrim.
The hub was officially opened today by the new Justice Minister Claire Sugden MLA.
It includes a specialist training room for volunteers and extra client meeting rooms.
Victim Support NI Chief Executive Geraldine Hanna said: “This is a milestone event for Victim Support NI, falling in our 35th anniversary year, and this investment underlines our commitment to delivering first class support services to victims and witnesses of crime in Foyle and across the region.
“Despite budget cuts and an increase in demand for our services, our caring and professional team have been resilient under the backdrop of change and unyielding in their dedication to helping people cope with the impact of crime on their lives.
“I am very proud of our terrific team of 13 staff and 75 volunteers who work tirelessly throughout this hub area supporting people through often very traumatic experiences assessing their needs, assisting them with criminal injuries compensation and helping victims and witnesses through the daunting court process.
“Our new spacious building in the city centre will enable us to deliver training to volunteers in-house and the additional client meeting rooms gives us a greater capacity to meet the increased demand for our services.
“We offer help to all victims of crime, regardless of whether or not they have reported to the police. ”
The Justice Minister, said the occasion to launch a public consultation on a Charter setting out the entitlements, services and support that a witness to a crime should expect.
“The criminal justice system very much depends on the honesty and, in many instances, bravery of the witnesses involved.
“There is no doubt that being a witness to a crime can be a challenging and stressful experience.”
“I want to ensure that those who have to give evidence are provided with appropriate information and that the support and services that we currently provide are fit for purpose.
“Today I am launching a public consultation on a new Witness Charter, which will run until September 27. The Charter will set out the entitlements and standards that will apply to witnesses of crime and ensure that they receive a service that is tailored to their individual needs.
“I would urge people to respond to this important consultation. As the Witness Charter is quite lengthy, a summary document, an easy read version and a young person’s guide have also been produced. I am particularly keen to hear the views of those who have previous experience of being a witness.”