The Commissioner for Victims and Survivors has been appointed to an independent group advising Chief Constable Jon Boutcher on issues affecting victims as he begins his investigation into a range of activities surrounding the alleged army agent known as Stakeknife.
In accepting the appointment Judith Thompson said:
“Our engagement with victims and their families along with the research we have conducted, tells us that victims need to know their rights and need to be protected and supported going through these processes. Different individuals have different needs and preferences so Victims must be given options and choices about the support and information they need to assist them best through what can be challenging and traumatic processes. All too often families have been left in an information vacuum, with no communication and no recognition of their pain. The role of the Victims Focus Group is to ensure that Jon Boutcher and his team have a robust communication protocol in place”.Judith Thompson, Commissioner
The Victims Focus Group (VFG) will be impartial and independent of the Operation Kenova investigation and consists of a group of independent international experts in victims’ rights who will review the Kenova victim strategy.
They will identify reoccurring or systematic issues and identify interventions to ensure the highest possible standards of victim care. This will provide an opportunity for the investigation and the group to discuss any issues which may arise in relation to victims’ rights, needs and interests and discuss best practice in relation to remedies.
“It is vital that victims’ families are shown respect and I am confident in Jon Boutcher’s assertion that he and his team are committed to doing all they can to find the truth for the victims and their families and that they will be at the centre of this investigation at all times. Victims and Survivors are the people who have suffered the most, have been given the least and are actually the people who are cutting a vital path that walks the talk of living with compromise. They have had no choice but to deal with the past but in doing so they deserve a voice in how we build for the future. Let’s hope that investigations like this, conducted in a victim centred manner, can be an exemplar of how we give victims, survivors and families respect, dignity, protection and support”.Judith Thompson, Commissioner
Victims and their families have the opportunity to comment and have their voices heard on the draft terms of reference for the group which are available on the website (www.opkenova.co.uk). Alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 01234 858 298.