Tag Archives: victims

PROBATION ENCOURAGES VICTIMS OF CRIME TO SIGN UP TO INFORMATION SCHEME

The Probation Board for Northern Ireland has worked directly with over 2000 victims of crime through its Victim Information Scheme based in Lisburn.   It has also facilitated almost 100 restorative interventions which evidence shows can prevent reoffending in the future and enable victims to have their voices heard.

Assistant Director Ruth McKelvey stated: “The public sometimes believe that probation is about working solely with people who have offended. In fact everything probation does is about reducing the number of victims of crime.   We work closely with community restorative groups as well as Victims Support NI in order to ensure that our work is victims focused.

She continued: “PBNI works directly with victims of crime through the PBNI Victim Information Scheme.   The scheme enables probation officers to provide information to victims of crime. As part of information provision, PBNI victim liaison officers explain the sentence, how supervision works and respond to the victims concerns and requests. The scheme is available to any person (or agreed representative) who has been the direct victim of a criminal offence for which the offender received a Probation Supervised Sentence.

“To date the Victim Information scheme has worked with 2232 victims. Of these registered victims, 78% were victims of sexual or other violence or families who have suffered a bereavement. Approximately 66% of those who register already knew the offender in their case.

“In the last number of years PBNI victims’ unit staff have, in response to victim requests, facilitated approximately 89 restorative interventions including cases of death by dangerous driving, manslaughter, murder, attempted murder, rape, hijacking, robbery, intimidation and grievous bodily harm. The majority have included indirect restorative shuttle dialogue between the victim and offender. Victim offender meetings and letters of apology, more recently renamed ‘reflective letter’ have also been facilitated.

“We want to encourage more people to sign up to the victims’ information scheme as it is a voluntary opt in scheme.   We would encourage anyone who has been a victim of crime where the sentence imposed involves PBNI to sign up to the scheme at https://www.pbni.org.uk/what-we-do/victim-information-scheme/ “.

Probation holds lunchtime seminar “The Voice of Victims”

PBNI held a lunchtime seminar “The Voice of Victims” on 21st February at 12pm in Probation Board Headquarters.

The seminar was to mark European Victims of Crime Day which takes place on 22nd February 2019.

The capacity full seminar saw Gillian Montgomery, Probation Assistant Director and Geraldine Hanna, Victim Support NI Chief Executive, speak about the issues surrounding victims of crime and how Probation assists those victims through its Victim Information Unit.

Gillian Montgomery, Probation Assistant Director, Dave Wall, Probation Board Member and Chair of Policy and Practice Committee, and Geraldine Hanna, Victim Support NI Chief Executive, at the Probation Board lunchtime seminar “The Voice of Victims”. 

There was a presentation by staff giving a practical example of Probation’s Victim Information Unit use of Restorative Practice with victims before a question and answer session took place.

New pilot programme aims to tackle root cause of domestic violence

A new pilot, focussed on changing the behaviours of those who are convicted of domestic violence related offences, has been launched today at Londonderry Magistrates’ Court.

The pilot will allow the Judge to refer offenders – who have been convicted of a domestic violence or abuse offence – to an intensive and innovative new Domestic Violence Perpetrators’ Programme (DVPP) before sentencing.

The programme will seek to modify perpetrators’ behaviours and reduce reoffending.  It is also hoped that more victims will be encouraged to report these crimes in the knowledge that their partners may be given an opportunity to get help through the availability of the programme.

It will require offenders, who have been assessed as suitable, to complete an intensive therapeutic behaviour change programme delivered by the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI).

To avail of the programme, offenders must accept that their behaviour is harmful, unacceptable and needs to change.

Department of Justice Permanent Secretary, Nick Perry said: “This innovative pilot is designed to challenge individuals to truly confront their offending behaviour. It will allow the judge to hold offenders directly accountable for their actions, to challenge them, and to support them to change.

“This new pilot will undoubtedly supplement the excellent work already being undertaken in Londonderry Magistrates’ Court through the domestic violence and abuse listing arrangement. Ultimately, this programme, working alongside a number of other Problem Solving Justice initiatives, will help to create a safe community for Northern Ireland where we respect the law, and each other.”

Offenders will be closely monitored by the judge, who will speak directly to them at monthly hearings, where he will review their compliance with programme requirements. Progress on the programme will be taken into account when determining an offender’s sentence.

A maximum of 30 offenders will be able to participate in the pilot, which is expected to run for approximately nine months.

Speaking about the programme Dr Geraldine O’Hare, Head of Psychology Services and Interventions PBNI, said: “We must work with perpetrators of domestic violence if we are to challenge their behaviour and the choices they make, in order to reduce the number of victims in our society and make Northern Ireland a safe place to live.

“This innovative problem solving programme, allows us to work intensively with offenders, to address the root causes of their behaviour and the crimes committed, and to rehabilitate them in the community.”

Addressing the needs of victims is also vital to the process.  A specialist link worker from Women’s Aid will provide victims with practical support whilst their partner is engaged with the programme.

Marie Brown Director of Foyle Woman’s Aid commented: “A key aspect of the programme is to ensure that the victims of abuse within the family are supported. The protection of victims is paramount within this programme and the role of the link worker is specifically designed to carry out this task.”

The initiative is one of a series of pilots being brought forward by the Department of Justice under its Problem Solving Justice approach, which seeks to find ways to tackle the root causes of offending behaviour.

Notes to editors:

  1. For further information on Problem Solving Justice initiatives go to www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/background-problem-solving-justice

2.  All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.

THIS PRESS RELEASE HAS BEEN RE PUBLISHED WITH THE PERMISSION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PRESS OFFICE 22.03.18