Everything Probation does is about preventing victims of crime. We work directly and indirectly with victims of crime. In supervising individuals we challenge them to look at the impact their crime has had. Pre-sentence reports and reports for the Parole Commissioners contain information on victim impact. Many of our programmes challenge offender behaviour including often for the first time, confronting the impact the crime has had on the victim. Through schemes like community service victims can have a say in what type of work an individual completes as part of their court order.
What is the Victim Information Scheme?
Probation’s Victim Information Scheme became operational in October 2005. It is a statutory scheme as provided by the Criminal Justice (N.I.) Order 2005. The scheme seeks to ensure that victims receive information about what it means when someone is sentenced to an Order which requires supervision by the Probation Board. The Probation Board acknowledges that it may be upsetting for you to think about the crime again, but we hope that the information available to you through this scheme will be helpful.
What is a Victim Liaison Officer?
This information can be found in ‘The work of a Victim Liaison Officer’ section.
What is the purpose of the Scheme?
This scheme will provide you with an opportunity to have explained to you the meaning of the requirements of the court sentence imposed on the person who committed an offence against you. This scheme works closely with other Criminal Justice and victim organisations to provide a wide range of information and services to victims of crime at various stages of the criminal justice process. It also complements the Northern Ireland Prisoner Release Victim Information Scheme.
Co-Location of Victim Information Unit
In October 2012 the Prisoner Release Victim Information Scheme, the Probation Board for Northern Ireland Victim Information Scheme and the Mentally Disordered Victim Information Scheme (operated by the DOJ) became co-located as a first step towards amalgamation. This followed a recommendation by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate Northern Ireland in 2011. Probation manages the unit which combines the skills and experience of staff from all three organisations.
The co-location of schemes began in October 2012 when a member of the Northern Ireland Prison Service transferred to the Probation Board. Staff have worked hard together to develop a single site, joined up Victim Information Unit as a first step towards amalgamating the three schemes.
Restorative Practice in PBNI
Since 2007 PBNI victims unit staff have, in response to victims requests, facilitated almost 100 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.
Other elements of PBNI work have developed to include restorative practices. The PBNI community service strategy first published in 2010 has a clear reparative element. The strategy encompasses restorative practices by making provision for the views of victims registered with the Victim Information Scheme to be taken into account in deciding the type of work offenders undertake. This has had some positive outcomes for both victims and offenders. For example, some victims have chosen that the hours benefit cancer organisations whilst others have requested the offender works to benefit disabled people. Victim organisations and members of the public can also recommend types of community service projects for PBNI to develop.
Similarly, our programmes and interventions including those developed to tackle hate crime, violence, sexual offending all have a restorative element.
The Problem Solving initiatives also contain a restorative element. For example those subject to the Enhanced Combination Order participate in victim focussed work, and where possible, a restorative intervention is a further enhancement to this order. Restorative work is undertaken through partnerships with organisations such as community Restorative Justice Ireland (CRJI), Northern Ireland Alternatives (NIA) as well as by probation officers who have completed training in restorative work through Ulster University.
Who can use the Scheme?
- Probation Victim Information Scheme
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.
- Prisoner Release Victim Information Scheme (PRVIS)
The Prisoner Release Victim Information Scheme is available 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 PRVIS Victim Information Scheme.
How do I apply?
To apply for the scheme you can either:
- Complete the online form here or
- Complete and return the form in the Victim Information Scheme leaflet (PDF)
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
Unit 4, Wallace Studios
27 Wallace Avenue
Tel: 0300 123 3269
Please read the Victim Information Scheme Privacy Notice
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 downloaded via the links below.
Victim Charter (PDF)
Victim Charter – Summary (PDF)
Victim Charter Summary – Translated versions
Victim Charter Summary – Easy Read version (PDF)
Victim Charter – A Guide for young people by young people (PDF)
Useful websites and further information
Restorative Practice with Adult Offenders Report (PDF)
PBNI Restorative Practice Strategy 2014 – 2017 (PDF)
Department of Justice (DOJ) – Services for Victims of Crime
Victim Support NI
Prisoner Release Victim Information Scheme (PRVIS)