Overview of Responses
- A clear majority expressed the opinion that the scheme should be expanded to enable as many victims as possible to make a victim statement. Additionally, a slim majority of respondents expressed a desire for the scheme to be expanded to enable all victims of crime to make a victim statement.
- The majority of respondents noted that if the scheme was widened, then there would likely be greater demand on victim support services to help the victim both complete the form and provide emotional support to deal with any trauma associated with revisiting the impact of the crime. It was also noted that this may require an increase in funding for these support services.
- The majority of respondents were in favour of expanding the ways in which victim statements could be made, for example by the judiciary or victim reading the statement aloud in court or the victim pre-recording the statement. However, various risks were also flagged up including: increased trauma for the victim; a requirement for additional resources and training for victim support services; improved access to technology being required; and a potential increase in inappropriate information being included in the statements.
- A number of respondents stated that the scheme should not just be available to family members of a deceased victim, but expanded to include people who would be considered close friends.
- The need to make the victim statement form available electronically was highlighted, as was the need for improved guidance on how to complete a victim statement.