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/ “.