‘Compensation Schemes must meet the needs of victims’ – Ford

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Monday, December 8th, 2014
Justice Minister David Ford has said that any updated compensation schemes should primarily look after the needs of those most affected by crime.

Justice Minister David Ford

The Minister was speaking as he launched a public consultation following a review of the Criminal Damage and Criminal Injuries Compensation Schemes in Northern Ireland. David Ford said, “I remain firmly of the view that we continue to need statutory schemes to support victims of criminal damage and criminal injury. “However, we need to recognise the difficult financial climate we are likely to face for the foreseeable future and ensure that compensation goes to those victims who have been most seriously impacted by crime. “It is equally clear that the existing schemes need to be updated to take account of the improved security and political situation compared to when the current schemes were devised. We also need to recognise the range of services which have since been developed and are now available to victims of violent crime. “The proposals contained within the consultation document will result in the scope of both schemes being reduced,” he explained. “In the case of Criminal Damage, the proposals acknowledge the ongoing terrorist threat and risk of serious public disorder and strike a balance between the extent of liability which should continue to be placed on the taxpayer and an individual’s own responsibility to insure their property. “In the case of Criminal Injuries, there are a number of proposals for change which take into account local circumstances and reaffirm the fundamental purpose of the scheme as an expression of public sympathy. “The proposals aim to target compensation towards victims who are the most seriously injured by violent crime and where the impact of the criminal injury is long-term and life changing. “I remain committed to improving services to victims and so intend to reinvest a proportion of the savings which will be released from the revised proposals to the Criminal Injuries scheme into services to the victims of crime,” Ford added. The consultation period closes on Monday 16th March 2015. The consultation paper can be downloaded using the link below: http://www.dojni.gov.uk/review-of-criminal-damage-and-criminal-injuries-schemes
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