New Victims Commissioner appointed

3The Office of the First and Deputy first Minister has recently announced the appointment of a new Victims Commissioner to replace the highly regarded Kathryn Stone who left the post in June 2014.

The new Commissioner is Judith Thompson who has extensive experience in the probation sector here and in the Northern Ireland justice system generally. Ms Thompson will head the Commission for Victims and Survivors (CVV) and will start her new post at the beginning of September 2015. Judith has lived here for some 30 years and in her work has had extensive interaction with many of those most directly affected by the troubles.

The Commissioner is very much conscious of the delay in her appointment and intends to make up some lost time by hitting the ground running, with a full round of intensive meetings with the Victims Forum, victim’s groups and other stakeholders.

Ahead of taking up her post she highlighted some important items on her agenda including pensions for the severely injured; effective historical investigations for families; and funding of essential services as victims get older and their needs become more acute.

She is not underestimating the scale of the challenge she faces or the importance of the work she is about to undertake: “Make no mistake, how we deal with those affected by the troubles is pivotal to allowing us to move forward in a peaceful and shared society. There are no easy answers but the voices of those who have been injured and families of those who have died must be heard and it is my job not only to see that they are heard but that we act positively and proactively on what they say”.

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