The Victims and Survivors Forum

The Victims and Survivors Forum was established in 2012 and is part of the infrastructure detailed in the Victims and Survivors Strategy.

What is the Victims and Survivors Forum?

The Victims and Survivors Forum was established in 2012 and is part of the infrastructure detailed in the Victims and Survivors Strategy.

The Victims Order (NI) 2006 (Para. 6. 6) states that:

“The Commissioner shall make arrangements for a forum for consultation and discussion with victims and survivors."

The Strategy for Victims and Survivors 2009-2019 states that it is essential that:

“the views of victims and survivors are based at the very heart of the agenda."

In order to achieve this the Commissioner convenes a Forum that is representative of victims and survivors experience for the purpose of consultation and discussion.

The Strategy also identifies the key work areas of the Forum which include:

(a) A comprehensive needs assessment to inform the development of services (linked to the provision of long-term funding and support services for victims/survivors);

(b) Dealing with the ‘past’; and

(c) Building for the future.

The Victims and Survivors Forum has currently 23 members who meet regularly.  Their profiles can be viewed here.

How are victims and survivors appointed to the Victims and Survivors Forum?

In September 2015, Judith Thompson was appointed as Commissioner for Victims and Survivors and reviewed the appointment process for the Forum and requested a process that was open, accessible and transparent and that would allow the Forum to be operated in a safe, competent and ethical manner.

In order to engage effectively with victims and survivors, the Commission sought to appoint a panel of victims or survivors in order to:

  1. Complement and assist in the work of the Commission by creating a wider advisory body of victims and survivors for accessible and broader consultation; and
  2. To replenish the membership of the Victims and Survivors Forum.

A call for Expressions of Interest was publicly launched and opened in April 2016. The Commission sought individuals who:

Met the definition of a victim as detailed in the Victims Order (NI) 2006:

  • Someone who is or has been physically or psychologically injured as a result of or in consequence of a conflict-related incident;
  • an individual may be psychologically injured as a result of or in consequence of witnessing a conflict-related incident or the consequences of such an incident; or 
    Providing medical or other emergency assistance to an individual in connection with a conflict-related incident.
  • Someone who provides a substantial amount of care on a regular basis for an individual mentioned in paragraph above.
  • Someone who has been bereaved as a result of or in consequence of a conflict-related incident.

Could demonstrate the core competencies of the role:

The Commission consulted with the current Forum members and stakeholders and identified the core competencies of an effective Forum member in the following areas:

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Emotional Resilience
  • Effective Communication 
  • Collaborative Skills
  • Influencing Skills

Met the requirements of the role:

  • Able to volunteer their time to working with other victims and survivors;
  • Able to engage with others in a competent and ethical way that respects equality and values diversity; and
  • Willing to abide by the practical requirements of the role.

Once the panel was appointed, the Commissioner identified the gaps in the current Forum membership and sought panel members who matched the gaps identified to attain a representative Forum as far as practically possible.

In order for the Commissioner to convene a Forum that is broadly representative of victims and survivors lived experience, demographics such as community background, gender, age, geographic location, origin of harm and the definition of a victim as detailed in the Victims Order (NI) 2006 to include those psychologically and physically injured, bereaved and carers.

Forum Related Documents

To view Forum minutes please click here.

To view advice from the Forum to the Commission please click here.