A pilot scheme to offer free legal advice to victims of sexual offences has been announced.
The move comes after the Gillen Review into the law and procedures in serious sexual offences.
The review, led by former Lord Justice of Appeal, the Right Honourable Sir John Gillen, recommended free advice for victims of such offences.
From April 1, adult complainants will have access to fully qualified Sexual Offences Legal Advisers (SOLAs) through a pilot scheme delivered through the charity Victim Support NI, in both its Belfast and Foyle hubs.
Justice Minister Naomi Long said her department wanted to do everything in its power to support victims.
"Cases involving sexual crime are some of the most intrusive and difficult for victims to endure," she said.
"We want to do everything in our power to support victims of these crimes through every stage of their journey through the justice system.
"The launch of this pilot marks an important step towards the delivery of better outcomes in these cases, ensuring that victims understand their rights and can make informed decisions."
Advice is set to be provided in relation to the disclosure of evidence including medical records, counselling records and personal digital information, such as mobile phone records.
Specific legal advice will also be provided in relation to the disclosure of previous sexual history and ensure that clients' interests and wishes are communicated.
This pilot scheme is available to adult complainants only and will run for an initial two-year period. The Department of Justice said it will be the first of its kind in the UK.
Ms Long added: "I am proud that Northern Ireland is the first region in the UK to offer this level of service to victims of serious sexual offences.
"I want to again thank colleagues across partner organisations for their efforts to take action to address the issues raised in the Gillen Review to date, and for engaging with my department to develop this pilot.
"This pilot is about recognising the impact that the criminal justice system can have on complainants and providing a service that will enhance their confidence and support them in navigating through it."
Geraldine Hanna, the chief executive of Victim Support NI, welcomed the scheme.
"Victim Support NI is delighted to be piloting the use of sexual offence legal advisers," she said.
"This is a key recommendation and will help to protect the rights and interests of victims in these cases who very often feel side-lined and further harmed by the court process.
"This service will help increase the confidence of victims coming forward as they can now receive free, independent legal advice regarding their rights in the process."