News

Support for victims of crime

Published: 23 Mar 2021 13:08
Part of:
Law and order

First payments made from Victim Surcharge Fund.

Victims of crime will receive support provided by the first payments from a fund that takes money from offenders.

Five organisations are sharing £157,000 from the Victim Surcharge Fund to provide practical help to victims. This includes support such as emergency household, food, utility or clothing expenses and helping with costs to repair or replace damaged property or goods.

It can also be used to provide new windows and locks for victims of house break-ins or to cover travel costs, for example, to places of safety or to attend court.

The fund is drawn from additional financial levies imposed on all offenders who receive a court fine. Payments have been made into the fund since the regulations establishing the victim surcharge were passed on 25 November 2019.

The payments have been made as more than £7 million of grant funding for victim support organisations in 2021-22 was also announced. This includes extended funding for Victim Support Scotland, Action Against Stalking and organisations providing support to victims of human trafficking.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“While overall levels of offending and the number of victims have fallen significantly over the last decade, it can often be frightening and isolating for those who do experience crime.

“It is absolutely right that criminals should pay towards helping victims of crime as they recover from their experience. That is why we introduced this fund, in addition to more than £7 million of grant funding we are providing to victim support organisations.

“I’m pleased that payments have now started being made from the fund, allowing organisations such as Victim Support Scotland and the Moira Fund to provide even more help to victims and their families.

“At the same time, the Victims Taskforce continues to drive forward system improvements to ensure that victims remain at the heart of Scotland’s justice system.”

Kate Wallace, Chief Executive of Victim Support Scotland, said:

“Throughout the pandemic, we have provided £300,000 through our Victims Fund reaching more than 800 people and their families affected by crime.

“Many people face financial destitution after a crime and this additional money available through the Victims Surcharge Fund will allow us to meet the continual needs of vulnerable victims in the aftermath of crime, covering the costs of, for example, food vouchers, rent, property repairs, alarms and funeral costs.

“For many of the people we support, this financial assistance can be life changing and sometimes lifesaving. We therefore welcome this development which we hope will go some way to empowering people to move on after a crime.”

Bea Jones, Chair of The Moira Fund, said:

“The pain and trauma of losing a loved one through violence affects all family members, all of whom have many and diverse needs not all of which can be addressed by existing support.

“This funding will enable us to support families across Scotland beyond those immediate and desperate pleas for help, with the provision of respite aid at a point when it is needed most.”

Background

Information on the Victim Surcharge Fund

The table below sets out the level of surcharge that is payable depending on the value of fine that is imposed by the court.

Amount of fine                                                     Surcharge payable

Up to and including £200                                      £10

Between £200.01 to £500 inclusive                     £20

Between £500.01 to £1,000 inclusive                  £40

Between £1,000.01 to £2,500 inclusive               £75

Between £2,500.01 to £5,000 inclusive               £175

Between £5,000.01 to £10,000                             £350

In excess of £10,000                                               7.5% of the fine

Victims Surcharge Fund payments:

• £120,000 to Victim Support Scotland
• £12,000 to The Moira Fund
• £10,000 to People Experiencing Trauma and Loss (PETAL)
• £10,000 to Families and Friends Affected by Murder and Suicide (FAMS)
• £5,000 to the Manda Centre

• Total £157,000

2021/22 grant funding to victim support organisations:

• £4,936,185 to Victim Support Scotland (VSS);
• £903,806 to Migrant Help;
• £580,800 to the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA);
• £240,088 to People Experiencing Trauma and Loss (PETAL);
• £186,173 to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Psychological Trauma Service (The Anchor);
• £104,655 to the Manda Centre;
• £98,353 to Action Against Stalking (AAS); and
• £57,465 to BRAKE, the road safety charity.

• Total = £7,107,525

By all main measures crime, including violent crime, is now considerably lower than a decade ago, with fewer victims. The most recent Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS), covering 2019-20 and including incidents not reported to police, identified that the volume of crime in Scotland has fallen by 46% since 2008-09 with violent crime down by almost two-fifths (39%) over the same period. The SCJS also found that one-in-eight adults in Scotland experienced crime in 2019-20, compared to one-in-five in 2008-09 – a rate that remains lower than in England & Wales.