Providing more help and support for victims and witnesses is key to building a better criminal justice system.
We are working with the justice organisations to help victims and witnesses feel supported, safe and informed at every stage of the process.
The Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 introduced a number of measures to improve support for victims and witnesses.
We are working with justice partners and other organisations to build on this, by:
- reviewing current support for victims of crime, and looking at the potential to introduce a single point of contact to help victims through the process
- making it easier for vulnerable witnesses to give evidence in criminal trials by increasing the use of pre-recorded evidence
- introducing a statutory duty to provide appropriate adult support to vulnerable adults during police procedures
- supporting restorative justice which provides safe communication between people harmed by crime and those responsible for the harm
- provide around £18 million each year to support victims of crime, including funding for organisations like Victim Support Scotland
- set out the rights of victims in one place in the Victims’ Code for Scotland
- administer the Victim Surcharge Fund for organisations that provide support to victims of crime
Improvements brought in by the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 included:
- the right for victims of certain crimes to specify the gender of their police interviewer
- the right for victims and witnesses to access information about the progress of their case
- publication of service standards for victims and witnesses so they know what to expect from criminal justice agencies
Bills and legislation
The Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 provides the Scottish Ministers with regulation-making powers to establish a statutory Appropriate Adult scheme.
The Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 introduced various measures to improve the support and information available to victims and witnesses of crime in Scotland.
The Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 introduced a number of measures to protect the rights of victims and witnesses including a statutory scheme of witness anonymity orders.
The Vulnerable Witness (Scotland) Act 2004 aims to improve conditions for vulnerable witnesses by increasing the number of support measures available to help them participate more fully in criminal and any civil court proceedings.
Email: Central Enquiries Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
Victims and Witnesses Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew’s House