£250,000 funding for trauma specialist.
A trauma specialist has been appointed to lead work across the justice system to ensure victims are treated in a more compassionate way and to get a better understanding of the impact crime can have on victims.
Almost £250,000 over three years has been allocated to NHS Education for Scotland (NES) to fund the new role which will be undertaken by Dr Caroline Bruce who will work directly with the Victims Taskforce.
It is part of the Scottish Government’s wider ambition for a trauma informed workforce and services across Scotland, supported by an investment of over £1.5 million in a National Trauma Training Programme.
Funding of £185,000 has also been awarded to four research projects to further understand how Scotland's criminal and civil justice systems can respond to the needs of all victims and witnesses.
These projects follow the publication of the Measuring Justice report which will help inform the work of the Victims Taskforce and how best to engage with victims and survivors with lived experience of the justice system.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:
"While crime and the number of people who have been victims of it has fallen over the last decade, I remain focused on addressing the needs of those who do fall victim to criminals. They should be at the heart of Scotland’s justice system and the Victims Taskforce has continued to take forward this important work through the COVID-19 pandemic.
"For victims of crime, the impact of their experiences can be long lasting and traumatic. Taken together with the impacts of the pandemic, it is even more important than ever that we have a workforce that is trained to deal with trauma in an empathetic way and help empower victims to access justice. So I am pleased we are able to provide more funding for this important area of work and research."
Dr Bruce, Head of Programme, Transforming Psychological Trauma at NES, said:
"I am delighted to be taking forward this partnership. Each and every member of the workforce has an important role in making sure that victims and witnesses experience a justice system that recognises the impact of trauma on witnesses and their evidence, and that prevents further harm through avoiding re-traumatisation.
"I look forward to working with and hearing from victims and witness who have lived experience of trauma, members of the Taskforce and academics."
The Victims Taskforce was established in November 2018 to improve support, advice and information for victims of crime. The primary role of the Taskforce is to co-ordinate and drive action to improve the experiences of victims and witnesses within the criminal justice system, while ensuring a fair justice system for those accused of crime.
Alongside reforms strengthening the rights of victims and vulnerable witnesses, the Scottish Government is providing around £60 million funding this year, across a range of projects, to support victims and survivors of crime. This includes £18.7 million through the Justice budget to fund organisations such as Victim Support Scotland to provide practical and emotional support.
The National Trauma Training Programme aims to support the workforce to deliver services in ways that prevent further harm or re-traumatisation for those who have experienced psychological trauma or adversity at any stage in their lives and support their unique recovery journey.
The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research recently published the Measuring Justice report.
The four new research projects are:
- Children’s reconceptualisation of ‘Justice’: Experiences, Expectations, and Aspirations
- The Use of Sexual History Evidence and ‘Private Data’ in Scottish Sexual Offences Trials
- Diversifying Justice: Revealing viable pathways for South Asian women
The Lived Experiences of Victims of Coercive Control, Stalking and Related Crimes, as they progress through the Criminal Justice System: Is it a case of ‘from the frying pan into the fire’ or is current practice, best practice?
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