In Scotland, victims of the most serious crimes may be eligible to make a victim statement. This is a written statement that gives a victim the chance to tell the court – in their own words – how a crime has affected them physically, emotionally and financially. In reaching their sentencing decision the Judge or Sheriff will take into account a number of different factors, reports and other information available to them, including the victim statement.
The list of offences in relation to which a statement can be made was prescribed in 2009. Since then a number of new, serious offences have come into force in Scotland in relation to which a victim statement cannot be made, for example stalking and the domestic abuse aggravation. In addition, the courts in which a victim statement can be taken into account are limited to solemn proceedings.
The consultation sought views on the current victim statement scheme and on proposed changes relating to:
- Extending eligibility to make a victim statement
- Other forms of victim statement
- Other ways the scheme could be improved