The Vision for Justice in Scotland

We set out our transformative vision of the future justice system for Scotland, spanning the full journey of criminal, civil and administrative justice, with a focus on creating safer communities and shifting societal attitudes and circumstances which perpetuate crime and harm.


Work to deliver our vision will be underpinned by four core principles:

Founded in equality and human rights

Justice services eliminate discrimination, advance equality, and foster good relations while taking a right’s-based approach, ensuring those most vulnerable and facing the biggest barriers are able to understand and realise their rights.


Justice services will implement transformative actions which are informed, funded and prioritised by recognised, credible and robust evidence, and are routinely monitored, evaluated and reviewed.

Embed person-centred and trauma-informed practices

Justice services ensure that a person’s needs and views are respected, provide clear communication and ensure understanding in areas of complexity. Individuals and their families are involved in taking decisions which affect them, with a recognition that people are the experts in their own lives.

Embedding trauma-informed practice will ensure that our justice services recognise the prevalence of trauma and adversity, realise where people are affected by trauma and respond in ways that reduce re-traumatising. Relationship-based practice that respects resilience, prevents further harm and supports recovery is intrinsic to trauma-informed practice.

This is achieved when organisations:

  • have commitment from leaders to organisational change and ensure a specific focus on trauma-informed leadership.
  • focus on workforce training, development and wellbeing.
  • share power with those with lived experience of trauma, including service co-design and active participation and collaboration.
  • ensure policies, procedures, systems and environments are informed by an understanding of trauma and its impacts.
  • implement specific practice changes and service approaches, in response to understanding of the impacts of trauma.
  • monitor and review trauma focused data and associated outcomes.

Collaboration and partnership

Justice services work together to ensure joined-up services and ensure person-centred outcomes, building partnerships and ensuring the system wide impact of our actions are factored into our decision making. Our workforces are supported to see their part in the bigger picture and be supported in their wellbeing.

The principles will guide all of us responsible for delivering justice services including our third sector partners and the legal profession, to do so in line with the new vision enabling greater consistency and approach across the sector. These principles speak to how we do things not just what we do. As a workforce we must be the difference in ensuring that those who require and use our justice services have the best possible experience.

By putting people at the heart of services, we’ll give them a better, more human experience. We’ll also empower them to take part in the justice system and let them know there are people who care, and who are there to support them.

As a justice sector workforce we must also be supported in our own wellbeing to ensure we can provide empathetic interactions and be supported in our daily challenges.

These are not new concepts or ideas; we are instead providing a re-invigorated focus and commitment in ensuring these principles are recognised, reflected in our ways of working and permeate the decisions we take collaboratively as a system and for the individuals we serve.

We expect that these principles will see a change in our ways of working ensuring we design services with all users, especially those with lived experience; we set up feedback loops, utilise technology and share data to drive continuous improvement; work and take decisions together using the principles as a way to assess options, ensuring best outcomes for individuals not organisations and; provide collective leadership and support through the National Justice Board to the justice workforce with a focus on wellbeing, thus facilitating a cultural shift to person-centred, trauma-informed services.



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