Probation Board for Northern Ireland Victim Information Unit Manager, Roisin Leckey talks about how Probation continues its work with victims of crime during COVID-19.
Hello, my name is Roisin Leckey and I am the Probation Area Manager for the Victim Information Unit. The Victim Information Unit delivers three Victim Information Schemes, the first one is the Probation Victim Information Scheme, secondly, we are the Prisoner Release Victim Information scheme, and thirdly, the Department of Justice scheme for Victims of Mentally Disordered Offenders.
In normal working times when we are based in the office, we would write to victims offering them the opportunity to register for whichever scheme is applicable to them. Since lockdown, we have been now making telephone calls to victims explaining the information they could receive with regards to the offender in their case and inviting them to register. If victims chose to register, we can then discuss over the phone and tell them information over the phone, and follow it up in sending them information by email, obviously respecting confidentiality. The victim can then phone us or ask for further information.
Another area of our work is to provide reports to the parole commissioners on behalf of victims. Victims can do their own representative reports or they can have a Victim Liaison Officer from my team do it on their behalf. Each day during this lockdown, I email my staff every morning to check that they are alright. My main priority is that my staff feel supported and that communication with them is maintained during lockdown. We often use zoom meetings, that’s for team meetings, for ongoing supervision with staff and for other meeting that we are taking place on consultation processes and the development of the unit.