Making the justice system better for victims: what did you tell us?

Easy read summary of the main findings from the consultation on improving victims' experiences of the justice system

Working in a trauma-informed and person-centred way

Trauma can happen to people after a bad or frightening event.

Trauma can make people:

  • feel sad or upset
  • feel scared
  • have nightmares or bad memories
  • drink alcohol or use drugs to help cope with how they are feeling

The Scottish Government thinks that organisations in the justice system should be trauma informed.

This means organisations:

  • understand how trauma can make victims feel
  • understand how trauma can make victims behave

Trauma informed also means that victims:

  • are listened to
  • get the right information at the right time
  • feel safe
  • are treated with kindness

There was support for new laws and changes to make the justice system:

  • trauma informed and person centred
  • more accessible and easier to take part in
  • fair to both victims and the accused - a person who is charged with committing a crime

Some respondents thought there should be a law and guidance on working in a trauma-informed way.

They said:

  • it must be clear what ‘trauma-informed practice’ means
  • it would need extra money and training
  • the Scottish Government should link into work already being done to make the justice system more trauma informed

Some respondents wanted to know what checks would be done on:

  • who had done trauma informed training
  • if and how it was being used
  • what would happen if staff did not work in a trauma-informed way

There were mixed views in relation to virtual trials held online so victims do not have to be in court in person.

Some respondents thought virtual trials were good because they:

  • help people have less trauma
  • are more accessible
  • keep victims apart from the accused

Some respondents said people must have a choice about having a virtual trial and must not be made to use them.

There was support for Ground Rules Hearings to be available to all child and vulnerable witnesses

Ground Rules Hearings happen in some High Court cases.

These are hearings to help the court make sure the victim is treated fairly at trial.

A hearing is a formal meeting where a court makes a decision.

There were mixed views about court scheduling and how to make it work in a trauma-informed way

Court scheduling is how it is decided when a case comes to court.

Some respondents said that there are too many delays and victims do not know when their court date will be.

They thought existing laws did not help to make this better.

Some respondents thought it would be difficult to have any system that would make this better.

There was agreement that information sharing could be better.

There were not many suggestions about how to do this.

Some respondents said it was important that people give consent - agreement to share their information.



Back to top