The Commissioner Designate was appointed by the Minister of Justice in March 2022 to be an independent voice for victims of crime. It was not possible to legislate to put a Victims of Crime Commissioner for NI on a statutory footing within the then Northern Ireland Assembly mandate (2017-22), therefore a non-statutory Victims of Crime Commissioner Designate was initially appointed. The public appointment process was carried out in the spirit of the principles of the Commissioner for Public Appointments Northern Ireland (CPANI) Code of Practice.
Geraldine Hanna took up the post of Victim of Crime Commissioner Designate on the 13th June 2022.
Geraldine Hanna said:
"I am delighted to have been appointed as the first Commissioner Designate for victims of all types of crime in Northern Ireland.
I intend to listen to victims by capturing their lived experiences and using this as evidence to drive meaningful change. I recognise that victims’ needs are complex and the impact of crime on people’s lives is far-reaching and requires support from a range of other sectors and government departments. I intend to work with all relevant departments and agencies to ensure that victims’ needs are front and centre to the provision and development of services and policies.
As part of my new role, I will also strive to ensure that victims of crime receive the treatment and entitlements they deserve by identifying good practice and highlighting where adherence to the Victim Charter needs to improve. I look forward to working with victims, government and stakeholders to improve the outcomes and experience of victims of crime across Northern Ireland."
Geraldine Hanna brings a wealth of experience of working with victims of crime to the post.
Geraldine has previously been the Chief Executive of Victim Support NI since 2015. Victim Support NI is the lead charity providing support to victims and witnesses of all types of crime across Northern Ireland. She has over 21 years’ experience in the victims’ sector and has been the driving force in establishing Victim Support NI’s Witness Service in all criminal courts across Northern Ireland and introducing the role of Independent Sexual Violence Advocates for adults and children to the region. She has been integral in the development of key initiatives to improve services for victims and witnesses of crime including the Victim and Witness Charters, Achievement of Best Practice Guidance and the introduction of Registered Intermediaries and Sexual Offence Legal Advisers. She is passionate about the rights of victims and witnesses and believes that Northern Ireland has the opportunity to be the leading light for best practice in this field. Geraldine has presented widely on the impact of crime and the criminal justice system on victims and has been a member of advisory panels to numerous reviews of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland including the Gillen review of sexual violence and the Hate Crime Review led by HHJ Marrinan.
Geraldine has also worked for several years at a European level and was appointed to the role of Presider of Victim Support Europe in May 2021. She holds a BSc in Sociology and Masters in Business Administration.