ICCL is working, along with our partners in the Victims’ Rights Alliance, to ensure the full implementation of the EU Victims Directive in Irish law. This means campaigning to put in place policies and processes for effective access to the rights set out under the Directive. This will be secured by successful completion of existing partnership agreements at the national and European levels.
In 2017, we published a guide to the Directive and the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017 for anyone who will be interacting with victims in the legal system. We launched the guide at a conference with input from Judith Thompson, commissioner for victims and survivors in Northern Ireland, and Margaret Tuite, EU Commission co-ordinator for the rights of the child. A representative from the Seattle-based Courthouse Dogs Foundation spoke about the impact that specially trained court dogs can have in helping particularly vulnerable victims, such as child victims of sexual abuse, to testify in court.
We also launched a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), in partnership with the Law Society of Ireland and the Bar of Ireland, offering expert guidance on all practitioners who will be implementing the Victims’ Directive. The course is co-funded by the European Commission.
Delivered over four weeks online from 28 November 2017, the course brought together experts working with victims of crime at a domestic and international level. Modules covered:
- Introduction to the Victims’ Directive.
- The Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017.
- Vulnerable Victims & Testimonial Aids.
- Compensation, Complaints & Best Practice From Abroad.
The foundation of each week’s release of materials will be a combination of approximately one hour of recordings, mixing interviews and presentations. Further reading materials will be posted to support independent learning and to promote peer-to-peer knowledge sharing.