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Summary Justice Reform: Victims, Witnesses and Public Perceptions Evaluation

Summary Justice Reform: Victims, Witnesses and Public Perceptions Evaluation

Thursday, February 2, 2012

ISBN: 9781780456232

A report on the findings of the evaluation of the impact of summary justice reforms on the experiences of victims and witnesses, and on victim, witness and public perceptions of summary justice in Scotland and the summary justice reforms.

Executive Summary

There was mixed awareness and understanding of the summary justice reforms. While professionals had some awareness, members of the public and victims and lay witnesses knew little of the reforms or the Scottish summary criminal system overall.

When explained, most of the reforms were viewed positively by professionals and members of the public alike, and there was general agreement that the changes were a move in the right direction. There remained some scepticism about whether some of the specific reforms would meet the desired outcomes over time.

Though not the aim of the summary justice reforms, better communication about what is required of victims and witnesses involved in the system may be needed and, for victims, overall experiences seem to be heavily determined by having case progress and case outcome information. For members of the public, confidence in the system is driven by proportionate sentencing and fair treatment of victims and witnesses.