Victims Taskforce papers: June 2023

Papers from the meeting of the group on 1 June 2023.

Victim-centred Approach update (workstream 1, paper 5)

A Victim-centred Approach to Justice in Scotland: scoping and modelling project


The purpose of this paper is to update the Taskforce on progress to date on the Victim-centred Approach to Justice in Scotland: Scoping and Modelling Project. This work was developed by the Victim-Centred Approach workstream of the Victims Taskforce. External contractor, Journey Associates were appointed via a tendering process and the project commenced in February 2023.


The aim of this project is to explore four scoped and costed models of service delivery that align with the goal of providing a ‘single point of contact’ or ‘one front door’ approach to delivering criminal justice services, as proposed by Lesley Thomson QC’s report into Victim Care in the Justice System (2017). Underpinning the approach is placing the needs of the victim and witness at the centre of delivery and minimising re-traumatisation. The models are summarised as: 

  • a: continuation of current position
  • b: expansion of the current approach
  • c: expansion of an existing service or new service to provide a single end-to-end support service 
  • d: transformational change of the criminal justice system

Project overview 

The project started in February 2023 and will be delivered in six stages. 

  • set-up
  • familiarisation and review
  • a: user research: as is mapping with partner organisations; b: user research: insight gathering with victims and witnesses
  • co-creating a single point of contact
  • drafting of co-created models and costings
  • reporting and final presentation

The project is currently in the information gathering stage including familiarisation and review of the Criminal Justice System (stage 2). Subsequent phases include applying a user-centred approach, including in-person (online if required) participatory sessions, engaging: 

  • criminal justice agencies
  • third sector organisations
  • victims and witnesses

The workshops will be focused on mapping the current ‘As Is’ approach as well as a providing a basis for co-creating potential single point of contact models. 

Familiarisation and review: A diverse range of relevant documents has been sourced from across the project steering group members and other key stakeholders. These have been reviewed to establish the current thinking, issues and opportunities in relation to victims’ experiences through the criminal justice system. 

As part of this stage, key initiatives underway or in process have been identified and interviews held with the project leads to gather pertinent information and material that might help inform our approach. This preliminary work helps ensure there is no duplication of activity taking place elsewhere and that examples of best practice are identified. It also raises awareness of the current project and nurtures connections that can be built on as the project progresses. To date, interviews have been conducted with a total of 18 organisations or initiatives including:

  • criminal justice agencies: COPFS (VIA Transformation Programme), Victims Gateway, VNS Review, MAPPA
  • Scottish Government: Victims Charter, Victim Centred Approach Fund, Case Related Data Transformation Project
  • third sector: Voluntary Organisations Collaboration Forum Scotland, Support for Families Bereaved by Crime, VSS Victims Reference Group

Learning from exemplars: To gain a deeper understanding of how a VCA could work in practice, a range of exemplars have been identified following a stakeholder mapping activity with the Steering Group. Interviews are in the process of being set up with 10 organisations in the UK and overseas including both criminal justice agencies and third sector organisations. It is anticipated that this work will provide detailed insights into the elements that support a VCA in practice, the associated delivery approaches and resource requirements. It will also help inform key aspects of the co-creation sessions to be designed and delivered later in the project. Initial contacts are in process with Victim Support Europe, Northern Ireland and New Zealand. 

Mapping ‘As Is’: Concurrent with gathering information on exemplars, an approach is being shaped to contact the chief officers of key criminal justice agencies to invite them to nominate representatives to engage in mapping the current ‘As Is’ delivery process to identify pain points, gaps and opportunities to enhance the victim and witness experience. This mapping will assist a similar process to be conducted with victims and witnesses.

Steering group: the project is overseen by a multi-agency steering group which meets four weekly and its members are noted below:

  • Kate Wallace, VSS (co-chair)
  • Colin Spivey, Parole Board (co-chair)
  • Sandy Brindley, Rape Crisis Scotland
  • Moira Price, COPFS
  • Lindsey Henderson/ Bekki Aitken, Scottish Government
  • Catherine Docherty, Journey Associates


This project is scheduled to complete its work in October 2023.

Next steps

Following distillation of the information gathered from exemplars, the agenda and materials for the ‘As Is’ mapping session will be prepared for delivery in May/June 2023. 

Victims Taskforce members will be invited to a workshop as the project comes to a conclusion, this is likely to be in September/October 2023, prior to the final report being completed and will help shape the final conclusions. It would be helpful if members could indicate whether they are able to take part.


Taskforce members are invited to note the project progress to-date. 

Victim Centred Approach Steering Group
May 2023


Victims Taskforce minutes: June 2023

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