The Commission for Victims and Survivors was established in May 2008, under the Victims and Survivors (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, as amended by the Commission for Victims and Survivors Act (Northern Ireland) 2008.
The Commission is a Non-departmental Public Body (NDBP) of the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMDFM). The principal aim of the Commission is to promote the interests of victims and survivors of the conflict
The Commission is unique in its construction and remit. Founded in May 2008 in the aftermath of forty years of conflict in Northern Ireland and ten years after it was first recommended in the Belfast Agreement which states:
"The participants believe that it is essential to acknowledge and address the suffering of the victims of violence as a necessary element of reconciliation. They look forward to the results of the work of the Northern Ireland Victims Commission.
It is recognised that victims have a right to remember as well as to contribute to a changed society. The achievement of a peaceful and just society would be the true memorial to the victims of violence."
Anticipated by the Belfast Agreement in 1998, formulated in legislation in 2006, established by Ministers in 2008 and given a policy framework by the Northern Ireland Executive in 2009, the Commission's principal aim is to promote the interests of victims and survivors. This aim is the central reference point for all of the Commissioners' work.
Kathryn Stone OBE, was appointed as the Commissioner for Victims and Survivors for Northern Ireland on 24 September 2012.
- Promoting an awareness of matters relating to the interests of victims and survivors and of the need to safeguard those interests;
- Keeping under review the adequacy and effectiveness of law and practice affecting the interests of the interests of victims and survivors;
- Keeping under review the adequacy and effectiveness of services provided for the victims and survivors by bodies or persons;
- Advising the Secretary of State, the Executive Committee of the Assembly and any body or person providing services for victims and survivors on matters concerning the interests of victims and survivors;
- Taking reasonable steps to ensure that the views of victims and survivors are sought; and
- Making arrangements for a Forum for consultation and discussion with victims and survivors.