Commissioner Designate Welcomes Formation of APG on Access to Justice

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Responding to the news that a new All Party Group (APG) in the Assembly has been formed on “Access to Justice” Commissioner Designate for Victims of Crime Geraldine Hanna said:

“I’m really pleased to see this new APG formed on such an important topic.

“Access to justice is a wide ranging remit that covers many of the issues that impact on victims of crime.

“One of the key issues this group should look at is the issue of the disclosure of third party private information of victims of sexual crime.

“Recent research by my office has shown that many victims of sexual crime are withdrawing support for prosecutions due to concerns that defence lawyers and potentially even the people who are accused of the crime being able to access confidential information on those victims.

“If we have a situation where a victim of a sexual crime feels they have to choose between their healthcare or  the prosecution of their alleged abuser, can we really say that person is able to access justice?

“Beyond the issue of disclosure, I am hopeful that this APG takes a serious look at the range of issues currently preventing victims of crime from accessing their Victims Charter rights fully.

“If we are going to build a victim-centred, trauma informed justice system, work must be done by our political leaders and by our civic society to correctly identify and address the issues being raised to me by victims of crime.”