31 October 2017
By Mary Bermingham
Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice & Equality, David Stanton has welcomed the passage through the Oireachtas of the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill. This legislation is the first time that statutory provision has been made for the rights of victims.
“This legislation, which I brought through the Oireachtas, should make a very real difference to the experience of victims in the criminal justice process. It is the first time we have enshrined victims’ rights in legislation. In drafting the Bill we were very grateful for the assistance of many people and organisations who are experienced in dealing with vicitms of crime.
“The Bill transposes into Irish law EU Directive 2012/29/EU which establishes minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime. It also fulfils an importance commitment in the Programme for Government to enact legislation to strengthen the rights of victims of crime”, said Minister Stanton.
“New protections introduced for victims of crime include the right to:
· Receive comprehensive information on the criminal justice system and the range of services, protective measures and entitlements they may access from their first contact with the Garda Síochána.
· Receive a written acknowledgement of their complaint.
· Information on the progress of the investigation and any court proceedings.
· Information on any decision not to institute a prosecution in relation to the offence committed against them and the right to request a review of that decision.
· Information on the release, temporary release, or escape from custody of an offender who is serving a sentence for an offence committed against the victim.
· Clear information and any necessary interpretation and translation assistance required to enable them to understand and be understood in their participation in the criminal justice process.
· In court proceedings, give a victim impact statement and, in certain circumstances, to give evidence from behind a screen or live television link.
Minister of State for Justice and Equality, David Stanton TD concluded saying: “This Bill placed the needs of victims and their families at the heart of the criminal justice process. We know that the needs of victims can vary greatly and this is why this legislation focuses on victims as individuals with specific protection.”