Victim Statement Consultation Engagement Event
1 November 2019
Key Points Captured
- Before considering extending the Scheme, there should be an evaluation of the operation of the current Scheme to determine why uptake is low.
- Improve uptake of the current scheme by using a focussed promotional marketing campaign.
- VIA should issue the full guidance booklet, DVD and VS Form, not just a letter advising of the victim’s eligibility.
- It was suggested that whenever a VS is produced to the Sheriff or Judge, a Sentencing Statement should be made and provided to the victim or bereaved relatives. This should also include a statement of acknowledgement of the impact of the crime.
- In relation to extending the Scheme it was felt this should apply to victims in all Solemn cases only. Given the limited contact with victims in summary cases to extend it would be unmanageable.
- There is a consensus that other methods of giving a VS should be considered.
- Assistance should be provided to help victims complete the VS
- Lack of funding was perceived as a potential barrier but one attendee felt that COPFS has more than enough funding.
- It was also felt that a VS could be provided to the court on acquittal as well as on conviction as it would inform the judge or sheriff of the impact of the crime. While this may not affect the accused in any way the judge may wish to reflect on what has been said.
- There should be improved and smarter timescales.
- There should be monitoring of those responsible for identifying eligible victims.
- In relation to who should able to complete a statement, there should be a more relaxed family hierarchy in cases of homicide, road death or death at work - where victim statements should be provided at FAI or Public Inquiry.