Northern Ireland needs Commissioner for Victims: Bell

ALLIANCE Victims Spokesperson Eileen Bell MLA has accused the Government of treating Northern Ireland victims as “not even an after-thought” following a Westminster debate on the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill.

Mrs Bell said that the legislation would create a Victims’ Commissioner in England and Wales, but not in Northern Ireland “where one is most needed”.

Mrs Bell said: “The Government should be including Northern Ireland in this legislation, or it should state why victims here are being treated as second-class citizens.

“In a recent Alliance submission to the Government on dealing with victims, we called for a Victims’ Commissioner for Northern Ireland. Now, when the opportunity arises, we are forgotten about. Such a commissioner would be a valuable representative for the rights of victims and their organisations.

“The Government has not even treated victims of crime here as an after-thought, providing one more good reason for working to end Direct Rule and restoring the devolved institutions.

“Treating victims fairly is something the Government has been slow to realise, and if it is going to ignore Northern Ireland’s genuine need for a Victims’ Commissioner, it should spell out why.”

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