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Urgent need to act on Gillen recommendations, says Nicholl

There is an urgent need to act on the recommendations of a major report into how serious sexual offence cases are dealt with, Alliance Councillor Kate Nicholl has said.

Councillor Nicholl was speaking after Sir John Gillen's report was delivered to the Department of Justice. It makes around 250 suggestions for changes, with 16 described as key recommendations. Sir John said three-quarters can be implemented without legislation.

"There is a pressing need to reform our criminal justice system and re-centre the process on the needs of the victim, so this report and its recommendations are welcome," said Councillor Nicholl.

"The review engaged with more than 200 organisations and individuals, so it is important to acknowledge the extent of the consultation process. One of the most important of the progressive reforms recommended are around education and the need to include awareness programmes for children and young people.

"There is an urgent need to ensure we act on the recommendations, as 75 per cent don't need any legislation, and build a system fit for purpose. Victims of rape and sexual assault deserve their dignity protected and justice served, and I am hopeful these recommendations will help do that."