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Independant assessment into Victims and Survivors Services welcomed

23 January, 2014 - by Bronwyn McGahan

Sinn Féin MLA and member of the OFMDFM committee Bronwyn McGahan has welcomed the decision by Ministers to defer the Individual Needs Reviews in the Victims and Survivor Services pending the outcome of the independent assessment.

 Ms. McGahan said,

“I welcome the decision by Ministers to defer the Individual Needs Reviews pending the outcome of the independent assessment as these were a particular source of concern and anxiety for many people.

“The Victims and Survivors Service was set up to help manage and deal with the issues of people affected by the conflict, however many of the Individual Needs Reviews actually added to the trauma and ordeal of the victims and survivors.

“I would like to acknowledge that after listening to concerns raised by many groups as well as the Victims’ Commissioner, Kathryn Stone, Ministers and the Department have taken the concerns on board and deferred the reviews.

“It has become clear the Victims and Survivors Service is not doing what it was designed to do and while many people have had a positive experience there are too many accounts coming to us of negative, frustrating and humiliating encounters.

“While the Programme Board has made what changes it can, including the inclusion of a representative from the Victims’ Forum,  it is clear that the VSS needs fundamental change.

 “We now need to give space and time for the independent assessors to carry outs its work and report back to the Commission and to Ministers.”

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