Information for Victims
Victims have told us that timely and accurate information and communication are key to meeting their needs. Therefore there are three Information Schemes in place to assist victims of crime. These three Schemes are managed by Probation’s Victim Information Unit. The purpose of the Unit is to give victims information about the Criminal Justice System and key stages of the sentence of the person who has offended in a manner which is accessible, understandable and supportive.
Listen to our podcast on how we work with victims of crime to help them through their traumatic experience:
1. The Probation Victim Information Scheme
Probation’s Victim Information Scheme provides information to registered victims about what it means when someone is sentenced to a Court Order which requires supervision by Probation. A member of staff based in the PBNI Victim Information Unit will explain what the Court Order means and what the individual who has been sentenced must do as a result of the order. This can include explaining the length of the sentence and the type of work they are undertaking as part of the order.
PBNI Victims Unit can also facilitate restorative interventions at the request of the victim and in appropriate circumstances. This can include 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.
The Probation Victim Information 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.
2. Prisoner Release Victim Information Scheme (PRVIS)
The Prisoner Release Victim Information Scheme provides information to any person (or agreed representative) who has been the victim of a crime which has resulted in the offender being sentenced to a term of imprisonment. The PRVIS Scheme applies only to adult prisoners sentenced to at least one sentence of six months or more; or permanently transferred to serve their sentence in Northern Ireland. Sentences of less than 6 months are not part of the scheme nor are cases where a prisoner received a number of sentences of less than 6 months. An adult prisoner is a person over 18 years.
Where an individual has been sentenced to both custody and community supervision the Probation Victim Information Scheme will work in partnership with the Prisoner Release Victim Information Scheme.
3. Mentally Disordered Offenders Victim Information Scheme
This scheme offers victims of people who have offended, and have serious mental health issues, the opportunity to let their voice be heard when considering applications for leave of absence or for the discharge of that person. A separate information sheet will be sent to those eligible to register for this part of the scheme. In cases where the victim of a person who has offended has received a Hospital Treatment Order or a Supervision and Treatment Order the victim / victim family may register to be kept informed of how the order is progressing. This order is supervised by the Mental Health Services. Information will be in liaison with a Victim Liaison Officer at the Victim Information Unit.
The Victim Information Schemes Leaflet provides more details about each of the Schemes.
How do I apply?
You can apply to the Mentally Disordered Offenders Victim Information Scheme, the Prisoner Release Victim Information Scheme and/or the Mentally Disordered Victim Scheme using the online form or email/telephone number below.
- Complete the online form or
- Complete and return the form in the Victim Information Scheme leaflet
If you are downloading this leaflet and filling in the form you can either post it to the Victims Unit (address provided in the leaflet) or contact the office on T: 0300 123 3269 for a prepaid envelope which will be sent out to you, or
- Contact the Unit using the details below
Victim Information Unit
80-90 North Street
Telephone (028) 9052 2522 or Telephone 0300 123 3269
Please read the Victim Information Scheme Privacy Notice
To raise awareness and encourage victims of crime to sign up to the Victim Information Schemes which are managed by the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI), a ‘Victim Stories’ booklet has been published. The booklet has testimonials from victims and lets them explain, in their own words, how the schemes have supported them.
The Victim Charter is a Charter for victims of crime. It explains your entitlements and the standard of service you can expect from Probation and other Criminal Justice organisations. The Charter and other supporting documents can be found on the Department of Justice website.
Restorative Justice Practice Framework
Probation launched the ‘Restorative Justice Practice Framework’, which sets out Probation's ambition to be the leading organisation for the delivery of restorative practices for adults at all stages of the criminal justice system. You can read about the launch in the News section.
Through the framework, Probation aims to ensure that all staff keep the victim at the heart of its practice.
One of the first steps in implementing this framework has been to establish a restorative practice forum within Probation, to bring together practitioners and managers to share good practice, and develop guidance for other staff about how they can deliver services in a restorative manner.
Probation is also developing new systems to record the number of restorative interventions being delivered and the outcomes for both victims and those who have offended. A training programme is also being developed so that staff can effectively deliver face to face restorative meetings where needed.
Probation is committed to progressing its restorative work to help put victims at the heart of the criminal justice process and ensure their views are heard. This framework will help us achieve that.
Victim of Crime Survey
The Commission for Victims of Crime have an online survey that aims to understand the experience victims have of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.
The survey is anonymous and you cannot be identified.
The survey asks questions about victims’ experience of the criminal justice system, and completing it will help the Commissioner and her team identify key issues that need to be addressed by the relevant criminal justice organisations.
If you would like to request the survey in a different format or if you need assistance to complete this form over the telephone, please contact the Commission for Victims of Crime office at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 028 9052 6607.
If any victims need support to deal with the impact of the crime they are responding about, please contact one of the support services available whose details can be found here https://www.cvocni.org/useful-organisations