Whilst this is a strange and uncertain time for all of us I am conscious that for those who have suffered injury and trauma, faced fear and uncertainty and have been left feeling vulnerable in the past, current events can have a particular resonance.
I want to give my assurance as your Commissioner that despite all that is going on in the world and despite the fact that our ways of working will change for a while, your views are more important to the Commission than ever at this difficult time.
I know that the Victims and Survivors Service has already been working with victims organisations to make sure that services continue to be delivered despite the measures we all have to take to keep people safe and their website will be kept updated with information on support.
There is still much we do not know in terms of the long-term impact of the effects of COVID-19 and it is therefore imperative that we hear from victims and survivors about your views and needs so that policy and services can adapt accordingly.
Whilst there is much uncertainty at present there remain a number of important issues that the Commission need to hear your views on. In particular the Written Ministerial Statement on Legacy which was laid before Parliament on 18th March. This varies significantly from the proposals which were consulted on last year, and from the advice that I delivered at that time.
I will continue to liaise with government representatives to determine what the impact of COVID-19 may be on the timeframes for the implementation of the Victims Payment Scheme.
As ever, we can be contacted by phone and email and will provide updates to you on our website and our social media accounts. Commission staff will continue to be available to you from their homes to listen to your views and experiences and to reflect these in our advice to Government.
It is more important than ever in this difficult time that our communities and leaders come together and that in the shared experience of our fears for our loved ones and our collective futures we are reminded that there is far more that unites us than sets us apart.