two men and a woman presenting to politicians

22 March 2024

Commission calls for Executive support in resourcing a new victim strategy

This week, Commission staff and Forum presented to The Executive Office Committee outlining its recent work and some upcoming priorities and challenges to be addressed in the interests of victims and survivors.

Highlighting key recommendations from the Commission’s response to The Executive Office’s consultation on a new victims’ strategy, Chief Executive, Andrew Sloan noted the importance of effectively resourcing the Strategy and the inclusion of timelines, action plans and a monitoring framework to measure the outcomes of its delivery.

Going on to speak of the establishment of the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Retrieval (ICRIR) which, come May this year, will assume legal responsibility for Troubles-related investigations and information recovery processes, Sloan emphasised the need for clear and victim-centred communications to families on the status of their case once the ICRIR assumes this legal responsibility.

“Of primary concern is the need for clarity in communication that it is only the legal responsibility of cases that will ‘pass over’ from current mechanisms to ICRIR, and not the case files themselves.

We feel there may be an assumption that everything will be handed over come 1 May which is not the case. Files will only transfer to ICRIR at the request of an individual or family.”

The Commission also invited the Executive and political parties to work together to find ways forward to deliver meaningful acknowledgement to bereaved victims and survivors.

Sloan pointed towards the recommendations in the Commission’s bereaved advice, laid in December last year by former Commissioner, Ian Jeffers, as a starting point for this conversation. The paper included the recommendation of a payment scheme as a mechanism for meaningful acknowledgement of bereaved victims and survivors.

“I’m all too aware that such resolutions will never be reached in one committee session, but it is the Commission’s view that workable solutions can always be found when the political will is there to do so. I would ask that parties do begin a process of working these issues through together,” concludes Sloan.

You can watch the Commission’s full Committee appearance here on YouTube.

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