Enhancements to Derry domestic violence court

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The Justice Minister and Northern Ireland’s top judge has announed new measures to enhance a specialist domestic violence court in Derry.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan and Justice Minister David Ford made the announcement during a visit to Foyle Women’s Aid.

Since 2011, all domestice violence cases in Derry are heard on a specifically assigned day and heard by the same judge.

The enhanced arrangements which were announced earlier this week include use of body worn video evidence and the introduction of a second remote link for the most vulnerable victims and witnesses to give evidence away from the main courtroom.

There will also be improved access for victims to appropriate support services.

David Ford said: “It is vital that we continue to support and encourage victims to attend court, give evidence and assert their right to the protection and safeguards of the law.

“The specialist arrangements here in Derry have made a tangible difference to victims of domestic violence and abuse who have to face what can be a daunting and overwhelming journey thorough the criminal justice process. The new measures will bring a range of benefits for victims of crime.

“As well as the introduction of Body Worn Video Technology, which is vital in building cases where victims of domestic violence are too scared or traumatised to see a prosecution through, a range of enhancements are being made to the support services.”