Posted By: August 22, 2014




The PFC has been informed that the Victims Survivors Service (VSS) have reduced the services available to victims and survivors of the conflict, leaving many devastated, out of pocket, and unsupported.

New applicants will only be able to apply for a very restricted type of support, and this is only after they have satisfied more stringent eligibility criteria.  Existing applicants may find they no longer receive services previously on offer either because the criteria has changed or the service has been “deferred”. Those who applied and were waiting on VSS to process their applications for months now, may be left with nothing.

Sara Duddy from the PFC has said

“Due to “financial pressures” VSS have massively reduced the future Individual Needs Programme that provides things like respite, education support, chronic pain support etc to victims and survivors. To add insult to injury, they have also stated that they will not honour those applications that were made before the deadline by victims and survivors who fit the eligibility criteria for specific support. VSS stopped sending out “award letters” several months ago, but continued to reassure individuals that their applications had been approved and they would receive confirmation once OFMDFM released funds. Now they have back tracked and said these applications have been “deferred”.

This is truly shocking. These individuals followed the rules and now VSS have moved the goalposts completely and once again the people who VSS are supposed to support are let down.

Those who were already in receipt of services or had applied under previous schemes will also face new criteria in order to avail of the same services they had previously received. For example we have been contacted by one individual who was getting support for chronic pain in the past from VSS after being injured in a bomb attack- this included an operation. The new criteria means that to avail of this type of support the applicant has to be in receipt of middle or higher level DLA. The applicant’s pain hasn’t changed- but now he doesn’t qualify for support. How is this supporting victims & survivors? Did anyone take account of their specific needs and what draconian decisions like these mean to those most needing help? Clearly not.

We are calling on OFMDFM & VSS to honour those applicants who meet the criteria and got their forms in before the deadline. They have been treated appallingly, and OFMDFM have to take responsibility.”



Email sent by VSS, 14th August 2014

 “Unfortunately, the reduction in our budget allocation in July 2014 as a
result of the financial pressures facing the Northern Ireland Executive will
have an impact on all areas of our work, including the Individual Needs

I am aware that many of your members and clients have accessed schemes under
the Individual Needs Programme in the past and rely on your guidance and
support in this area.

The Victims and Survivors Service and OFMDFM, with the support of the
Commission for Victims and Survivors will continue to bid for additional
budget in 2014/2015.  The next opportunity to do so will be in October 2014.
In the interim, the Individual Needs Programme will be opened on a limited
basis to ensure the funding which is currently available can be accessed.”


Background Information

The Purpose of the VSS

The VSS was established in April 2012 as an arm’s length body of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM).

They are responsible for administering OFMDFM funding that is set aside specifically for victims and survivors.

The OFMDFM funding for victims and survivors enables the VSS to carry out two key tasks:

  1. To review the needs of individual victims and survivors, in order to provide tailored services and support; and
  2. To allocate resources to organisations that provide services and support to victims and survivors.

Who are Victims and Survivors?

The VSS provides support and assistance to those identified in the Victims and Survivors (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.

They therefore can provide support to the following individuals:

  • Those who have been injured as a result of a conflict-related incident (physically or psychologically);
  • Those who care for loved one who have been injured in this way; and
  • Those who have been bereaved as a result of a conflict-related incident.





Unit B8, Ráth Mór Centre
Bligh’s Lane, Derry, BT48 0LZ
Tel: 028 71268846

PFC Contacts: 

Armagh: 028-37515191    armagh@patfinucanecentre.org 

Derry: 028-71268846       info@patfinucanecentre.org  

Dublin: +35318554300     info@dublinmonaghanbombings.org