Victims’ group calls for rights ombudsman to ensure enforcement of new legislation

A support group for victims of homicide has called for a victims’ rights ombudsman because they fear new victims’ rights legislation will not be enforced.

The Victims of Crime Bill, currently being drafted, will give crime victims a statutory right to key information on cases.

The general scheme of the bill was approved by the Government on July 14 last.

Under the bill, homicide victims’ families will have the right to access information, support and protection, even where the offender has not been identified.

Advocates for Victims of Homicide (AdVIC), is concerned that the rights provided under the bill will be merely window dressing because there is no clarity on how they will be enforced.

“The difficulty up to now for victims’ families is that they are often largely forgotten and are merely bystanders throughout the process,” said AdVIC.

“Establishing a victims’ rights ombudsman would help to ensure that homicide victims’ families’ rights are upheld and that there is an avenue for complaint if the highest standards of justice are not observed.”

The bill must be passed by November 16 to comply with the EU Directive on Victims’ Rights, adopted at a European level in 2012.

AdVIC, established 10 years ago, will hold memorial service today at the Unitarian Church in Dublin, with Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay as the guest speaker.


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