Northern Ireland

NI's new victims commissioner is Kathryn Stone

Stormont

Northern Ireland's new commissioner for victims and survivors is Kathryn Stone.

She is currently chief executive of Voice UK, a national learning disability charity, promoting justice and well being for vulnerable victims.

First Minister Peter Robinson said: "She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the job and has dedicated much of her life to improving the lives of victims.

"We believe that she will be a true champion for the cause."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "This is an exciting time for Kathryn to be taking up post, with a number of significant developments across the victims' sector including the establishment of the new Victims and Survivors Service which brings together some £11m of annual funding into a single, unified service.

"We are grateful to the work of the previous commissioners over the past four years. We are pleased that we have reached the point of being able to appoint a single commissioner."

Ms Stone was principal inspector for Milton Keynes Council and head of inspection for the London Boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham and Barking and Dagenham, responsible for the regulation of residential, nursing and day care.

She also worked as an independent inspector for eight local authorities across the UK.

For the past 11 years, she has been involved with the Registered Intermediary Scheme sitting on the Quality Assurance Board and the Registration Board.

She has also been a member of the Home Office Victims Advisory Panel (2006-2010) and a member of Derbyshire police's independent advisory group since 2009, and chair of this group since March 2012.

She was awarded an OBE in 2007 for her services to people with learning disabilities and was made a chartered director by the Institute of Directors in 2008 and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors in 2009.

In a statement, the Wave trauma centre welcomed the appointment.

"Individuals and families bereaved, injured and/or traumatised by the Troubles require a strong champion to ensure that their needs are met and we look forward to working with Kathryn when she comes into post," the statement said.

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