Publication - Consultation analysis

Widening the scope of the current victim statement scheme: consultation analysis

Published: 19 Feb 2021

This report provides an analysis of responses to the Scottish Government’s (SG) consultation on “widening the scope of the current victim statement scheme” which ran from 1 September 2019 until 29 November 2019.

28 page PDF

389.4 kB

28 page PDF

389.4 kB

Widening the scope of the current victim statement scheme: consultation analysis
Impact assessments

28 page PDF

389.4 kB

Impact assessments

Impact assessments will be carried out alongside the development of any new

legislation which would be required to implement changes to the current victim statement scheme.

These include a Data Protection Impact Assessment and an Equality Impact Assessment (related to the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation).

Views were sought on these areas to help in the future development of these assessments.

Question 7

Are there any data protection related issues that you feel could arise from the proposals set out in this paper?

Option Total
Yes 13
No 12
Not Answered 18

Although this question focused on any data protection issues that may arise from changing the victim statement scheme, a number of responses addressed issues that go beyond those that are strictly data protection related.

Summary of Data Protection related responses Total
Do a robust DPIA 4
Protect complainer address/identity 3
Must be GDPR compliant 2
Close the court for video/audio victim statement 1
Consent would be required to contact the victim 1
Probably 1

Susie Stein of the Scottish Borders Rape Crisis Centre advised that:

“If a survivors wished to opt for a pre-recording in audio or video we would suggest that the court is closed to protect their identity in cases where their evidence would be heard in a closed court.”

And the Scottish Borders Council VAW Partnership noted that thought should be given to:

“ensuring that any victims who wished to pre-record their victim impact statement are provided a safe environment to do so e.g. confidential room, away from the main court etc. based on protecting their identity.”

Issues not necessarily data protection related Total
Do a Children’s rights assessment 1
Do an EQIA re: human rights 1
Give the victim statement to social worker 1
Provide info on press reporting to complainer 1
Single point of contact at COPFS 1
There should be a safe environment to make statement 1

One individual stated that the:

“Address of complainer should be protected at all times. Press reporting should be advised to complainer so they know their statement may be reported in press.”

Question 8

Are there any equality related issues that you feel could arise from the proposals set out in this paper?

Option Total
Yes 13
No 15
Not Answered 10

Summary of responses

Summary of Equality issues to consider Total
More support needed for victims whose first language is not English 3
Do a thorough EQIA 2
Does more need to be done to reach the disadvantages or vulnerable with victim statement form? (the homeless, those in temporary accommodation, etc.) 1
Assess equality requirements on a case by case basis 1
Chance of cross examination could put victims of Domestic abuse off providing a victim statement 1
Ensure that the information from a victim statement is used positively in relation to the perpetrator (ensure they also have support) 1
Every organisation involved with supporting victim statements should undertake training on independent advocacy 1
Identify whether women are more likely to be complainers 1
Sexual violence, Domestic abuse, gender crimes 1
The new proposals will make things more equal 1
The resilience of victims could impact on victim statement produced 1
There should be a legal duty to have a statutory body monitor victim statement equalities data and publish annually before parliament 1
There will be an impact if victim statement are not available to everyone 1
Vulnerable adults may need advocacy 1
Vulnerable groups beyond just those with protected characteristics may be impacted 1
We should ensure that all children are assumed to have capability as per UNCRC article 12 1

Professor Joanna Shapland noted that:

“Currently, it is unclear whether fiscals are able properly to contact all those in more disadvantaged groups (e.g. who do not have a fixed address or cannot read or write (including children)) and those from ethnic minorities for whom English is not their native language.”

Gillian Mawdsley of the Law Society of Scotland stated that:

“Care needs to be taken to ensure that they [vulnerable victim] understand the implications of and are supported where a victim statement is to be given. That need for vulnerable groups may be wider than merely the group of “protected characteristics” as that does not seem to be fully met at present.”

There was slightly more focus on people with protected characteristics, with three areas specifically mentioned.

Equality and Protected Characteristics Total
Changes could have an impact in regard of protected characteristics, especially age 1
Disability – accessibility 1
More support may be required for those with communication issues (dyslexia etc) 1

One of the individuals that responded to the consultation said that:

“ the Equality Impact Assessment - if done in a thorough way - should bring up and address any equality-related issues but there are lots of considerations relevant to people with the different protected characteristics such as language barriers, disability barriers, heteronormative practices in our criminal justice system, etc.”