Chair's Thoughts on the Victims Commissioner Review, 'Voice of the Voiceless'

Chair’s Thoughts on the Victims Commissioner Review, ‘Voice of the Voiceless’

View Point IfJ

Catherine O’Neill, IfJ Chair

Chair’s Thoughts

Following the publication of the Victims Commissioner Review, ‘Voice of the Voiceless’ (https://victimscommissioner.org.uk/a-voice-for-the-voiceless/), Intermediaries for Justice would like to thank all intermediaries for their involvement in this research. The extraordinary response rate to the survey (92%) and participation at regional meetings have enabled the Victims Commissioner, Baroness Newlove, to paint a comprehensive picture of the scheme, its unique role in facilitating communication with children and vulnerable adults in the justice system, and to identify key factors impeding its effective operation.

Baroness Newlove’s Review highlights the passion and commitment of the intermediary community, the central importance of the role, and its contribution in assisting equal access to justice. It describes the current under-resourcing and subsequent unmatched cases and recommends creation of a national centralised service to monitor and supervise intermediaries, in order to create a robust service for children and vulnerable people. The need is far-reaching and extends to many aspects of the justice system, not just the criminal arena.

Implementation of the Review’s recommendations will shape the future of the intermediary scheme, put it on a proper professional footing, and give appropriate recognition to the needs of children and vulnerable adults in the justice system. We await the response from the Government and we, at IfJ, must continue to press for their response and action plan.

At last, the need for the Intermediary role and the hard work carried out on a daily basis by intermediaries throughout the country, has been acknowledged.

Catherine O’Neill

IfJ Chair