Victim Support Scotland's Manifesto 2011-2015 contains a lot of important issues that the Scottish Liberal Democrats are happy to help take forward in the Scottish Parliament, the party's justice spokesman Robert Brown, MSP, has pledged.
Speaking to a Fringe meeting organised by Victim Support Scotland at the party's Scottish Spring Conference in Perth on Saturday, March 5, Mr Brown said that the focus of the criminal justice system was far too often on the court process while victims were forgotten.
Mr Brown added that as a lawyer he had experience of how "mystifying" the court process could be, while his wife had recently had personal experience as a juror of how easy it was for witnesses, victims and jurors to feel intimidated by the presence of accused or their families. There was a need to look at how the lay-out of courts could be improved to prevent this happening.
The question of compensation for victims was a very tricky one, the MSP said, but the party was looking at how criminal compensation orders could work better and remove the weight that presently lies on the victim. Two options of a cashback scheme to give victims access to cash and the idea of adapting the Swedish system of taking compensation from prisoners' wages were being considered.
Liberal Democrats had also supported community payback orders, but wanted to see the system improved so that communities were better consulted and the CPOs became a useful resource for them.
"Ultimately, the interests of victims are best served by there being fewer criminals," said Mr Brown "and that means catching, prosecuting and dealing with them afterwards in a way to prevent re-offending."
The well-attended meeting, chaired by VSS chairman Bob Leitch heard VSS Deputy Chief Executive Business Delivery Susan Gallagher outline the main areas of the Manifesto . The Deputy Chief Executive also answered questions in a lively Q&A session.
The photograph shows Robert Brown addressing the meeting watched by VSS chairman Bob Leitch and Deputy Chief Executive Susan Gallagher.