Minister of Justice, Senator Hon. Mark Golding, has informed that the Ministry intends to launch a revised Victims' Charter soon.
He said that the revision is underway and Cabinet submission is being finalised to seek approval for the adoption of the revised document.
Mr. Golding was addressing the official launch of Restorative Justice Week on Feb. 2, at the Ministry's Oxford Road offices in Kingston. The week will be observed from February 5 to February 11 under the theme: ‘One People, One Spirit, One Justice’.
The Victim’s Charter seeks to provide a balanced framework to guide the development and implementation of policies, programmes and initiatives designed to facilitate fair and just treatment of victims and witnesses, while safeguarding the rights of accused persons and convicted offenders.
Mr. Golding said the document recognises that there is considerable need for advocacy and the promotion of victims’ rights, and for victims to be more central to the process of the administration of justice.
“It seeks to address the perception that, while the rights of suspects and offenders are, and indeed, should be vigorously championed, the needs and rights of victims are inadequately addressed in our current system, and victims are perceived as being secondary within the justice process,” he stated.
The Victims’ Charter was developed in July 2006 after island-wide public consultations and the Victim Support Unit launched in July 2008.
The unit forms part of the Victim Support Programme in Jamaica, spearheaded by the Ministry of Justice, which is intended to assist persons against whom crimes have been committed.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter