LEADERS of charities and groups in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia supporting victims and witnesses of crime have launched the world’s first global organisation to promote the rights and interests of victims at the United Nations in New York.
The new body, Victims of Crime International (VOCI), has representatives from the UK, Canada, the USA, South Korea and Victim Support Europe, the umbrella body representing victims.
VOCI is a landmark global initiative. It is a non-governmental organisation committed to developing the human rights and the practical standing of victims of crime everywhere in the world.
*share knowledge and best practice;
* support self-help; and
* help to determine basic principles, standards and norms for the care and treatment of victims of crime.
Says a spokesperson: “VOCI has the support of victim organisations in Europe, Australia, North America and Asia. Interest has also been expressed from African and South American organisations.
“VOCI was launched in New York today (June 5) and will formally present its application for recognition and consultative status and rights of representation with the United Nations.
“VOCI leaders have held talks with senior figures to seek support for the new organisation. These included meetings with Joye Frost, director of the Office For Victims of Crime at the US Justice Department and with Frank Cilluffo, associate vice president of Homeland Security and director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at The George Washington University, in Washington.
“They will also meet Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant, UK Ambassador to the UN, Ambassador Guillermo E. Rishchynski, Canada’s Ambassador to the UN, and with representatives of the families of victims of 9/11.
“The goals of VOCI accord with the aims and work of the UN, and the organisation believes that, with the UN’s help and support, a vital opportunity can be secured to ensure that victims and witnesses of crime around the globe are better represented and helped, many of them in parts of the world where no such services currently exist.”
VOCI will operate as a non-profit, charitable and educational organisation dedicated to the objectives of:
- Promoting peace, social progress, better living standards, equality, health and human rights;
- Creating a unified global voice to advocate the needs and views of people affected by crime;
- Developing an international agenda by promulgating evidence from key experts and decision-makers in the area of victims’ rights;
- Encourage and assist development of good, accessible services for people affected by crime worldwide;
- Give a platform for the voices of victims;
- Promote the professional development of people working with victims;
- Promote the rights of people affected by crime;
- Increase recognition among international institutions for the needs of those affected by crime; and
- Champion initiatives for better response to people affected by crime.
David McKenna, chief executive of Victim Support Scotland and president of Victim Support Europe, welcoming the advance made in achieving a global organisation to assist victims of crime, said it was the start of a new process.
He said that statistics show that some 16 per cent of world citizens became victims of crime and that a lot of hard work would have to be undertaken to ensure that minimum standards of treatment for victims were established in as many countries as possible.
He added: “Today’s launch is really great progress in advancing our plan to create minimum standards, as far as possible, globally. A lot of people have worked hard for years to get to this crucial stage and I know that in the years to come those efforts will produce their rewards by allowing us to assist victims of crime irrespective of which country in the world they became a victim.”
Members of the VOCI party in New York are:
David McKenna – President of Victim Support Europe and chief executive of Victim Support Scotland;
Bob Leitch - Chair of Victim Support Scotland;
Nick Griffin – Vice-chair of Victim Support England & Wales;
Will Marling – Executive director of the National Organisation of Victim Assistance, USA and president of Victims of Crime International;
Sue O’ Sullivan – Federal ombudsman for Victims of Crime, Canada;
Val Oles – Senior manager, Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, Canada;
Kim Hak Seok - Senior prosecutor, Seoul, South Korea; and
Yongwoo Lee - Head of Korea Crime Victims Association, South Korea.
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Contact: David Sinclair