Care for victims and practice of human rights key lessons for justice reform

Alliance Party Chair Yvonne Boyle has said that much work remains to be done improving communications with victims of crime and making a human rights culture central to every aspect of public life.

Speaking at the launch of the Justice Oversight Commissioner’s sixth and final report, the Coleraine representative stated: “It is pleasing that most of the Commissioner’s 300 recommendations have been implemented.

“However, a change of culture in public life is necessary.

“It is still to easy to overlook the victims of crime within the justice system. Communication with victims concerning the status of criminals is an essential part of justice. Victims must not be left feeling victimized by the system itself, as well as those offending against them.”

Ms Boyle, herself a senior social worker in mental health, concluded: “The challenge remains to make human rights and recognition of diversity a central part of every aspect of public life. This is not merely about check lists, but of people’s understanding of human rights and diversity so that their application becomes instinctive. There are no aspects of public life not included here – why, for example, are there so few women in senior local government positions or working as judges?

“The Commissioner’s report illustrates once again the absolute requirement for politicians to get on with the job, get the institutions running, and prove they too can put victims first and generate a genuine human rights culture on behalf of everyone, not just their own group.”


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