JIS News

The Ministry of Justice has begun a series of consultations across the island, to gain the public’s input on the proposed Victims’ Charter. Senior Public Relations officer at the Ministry of Justice, Michael Cohen, said it was very important for the public to participate in the development of the charter.
“It cannot be perceived that a Victims’ Charter was created and handed down to the people. Jamaicans are being given a chance to make practical suggestions on issues to be addressed in all matters concerning the care of victims,” said Mr. Cohen.
Minister of Justice, Senator A.J Nicholson, speaking at a press briefing held earlier this year, said there were several areas of the draft document, which should be discussed by the public.
“These include matters such as the compensation of victims and the role of the state in the funding of any scheme for compensation, and the protection of children and other vulnerable groups within the communities and by the state,” he noted.
The objectives of the Victims’ Charter are to recognize the centrality of victims to the criminal justice process, to minimize and eventually eliminate the risk of secondary victimization of victims, to enhance existing victim support policies and programmes that will focus on the well-being and welfare of the victim, in particular those who are most vulnerable.
The first consultation was held on Thursday, August 31 in Ocho Rios, with the others to be held in Montego Bay on September 7; Savanna-la-Mar on September 14; Mandeville on September 21; Kingston on September 28 and on October 5 at the Anglican Church Hall in Morant Bay, St. Thomas.
All the meetings will begin at 3:00 p.m. and will end no later than 6:00 p.m. The people of Jamaica are invited to examine and provide the Ministry of Justice with a written contribution to guide the final shape and content of the Victims Charter, which will be available for public scrutiny until October 31, 2006.