SDLP Derry City Councillor Anne Donnelly has expressed hope victims of crime suffering in silence will be encouraged to come forward due to a new service that has been introduced, but says more must be done to support victims throughout the whole judicial process.
Cllr Donnelly welcomed the establishment of the Victim and Witness Care Unit to keep victims and witnesses of crime informed of progress in court cases they are involved in.
Cllr Donnelly said: “For many victims the process of dealing with police, making a statement and having to go to court is something that only happens to them once and it can be very distressing. However, all too often we have heard of the PSNI’s poor performance in updating victims about their case, and that victims are ‘kept in the dark’. For victims that is not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable for the PSNI to deal with victims in that fashion.
“This new service is designed as a communications tool and to give advice to victims about what to expect from the process, which, if worked properly, can only be a good thing.
“Hopefully, it will also encourage others to come forward and report crime, and reduce the number of people out there who are suffering in silence. There are many reasons why victims choose not to report a crime, including fear of what to expect when they do. This new service will, hopefully, go some way towards reducing that fear but, paramount in all of this, is the quality of service for victims and making sure they are supported at all times and that their needs addressed.”