NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 14 — International Justice Mission (IJM), a global non-government organization focused on human rights, law and law enforcement has called for enhanced trauma-informed care services within the criminal justice system to help victims and survivors of crime in the country.
Benson Shamala, IJM Country Director said Tuesday that victims of crime face unique and significant stress in their quest for justice hence the need for the streamlining of psycho social support for victims and witnesses of crime.
Shamala who is also a Director at Victim Protection Board singled out the case of the slain Lawyer Willie Kimani which he said took six years to conclude.
“You can imagine the stress survivors, witnesses go through as they wait for the conclusion of such cases. Victims and survivors of crime are better placed to pursue justice if their mental well being is taken care of,” he said.
Shamala was speaking during the launch of a booklet on mental health and psychosocial support within the criminal justice system.
The booklet was produced by Victims and Witnesses Psychosocial Support Network which brings together actors from government and civil society organizations.
The IJM Country Director went on to say that victims of crime see justice as an integral part of healing process yet sometimes they may not necessarily get justice they are pursuing.
He however, noted that if witnesses and victims of crime are handled with the knowledge of the mental well being, they will be able to trust the criminal justice even when they don’t get their desired justice.
“We need to make sure that our criminal justice system becomes more sensitive to the victims of crime,” he said citing aspects of psychological trauma on victims and survivors of crime.
Shamala called for collaboration between both government and non-state actors to promote the mental well being of survivors and victims of crime.
“We need to engage in sharing information and best practices so that we can enhance victim protection. There is also need to lobby for resources,” he said.
The event brought together representatives form civil society, police, Independent Oversight Policing Authority (IPOA) and Office of the Director of Public Prosecution and Witness Protection Agency.