Victims of crime will have the power to request that alleged offenders be kept in custody as part of new laws.
All victims will also have the right to have a victim impact statement read out to the court.
Victims will have the right to be informed of decisions not to proceed with an investigation or not to prosecute. And, where a decision is made not to prosecute, a victim will be entitled to seek a review of that decision.
The Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill 2016, which is being published by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, ensures that victims are given advice on their own safety and will be given information on safety orders and barring orders.
If deemed necessary, special measures can be put in place to stop threats or intimidation of victims during the investigation and court process.
These measures can go as far as excluding the public from court proceedings and restricting questioning over the victim’s private life.
Describing the bill as “landmark legislation”, Ms Fitzgerald said it would strengthen the rights of victims and their families, to ensure that victims and their needs are at the heart of the justice process.
“It will ensure that rights to information, advice and other appropriate assistance are met effectively and efficiently,” she said.
“The bill will introduce, for the first time, statutory rights for victims of crime.”
The programme for government contained a commitment to publish legislation to implement the EU Victims of Crime Directive strengthening the rights, support, and protection of victims across the European Union.
Ms Fitzgerald added: “The proposals are strongly supported by victims’ support groups and I believe, will be supported by the public. I hope to progress this bill through the houses as quickly as possible.”
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