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Support for Families Bereaved by Crime service launched

A new and innovative service for families who have been bereaved by crime in Scotland has been officially launched today (24 July 2019) in Glasgow by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf.

The Support for Families Bereaved by Crime service is a specialist service, delivered by Victim Support Scotland, which has been designed to support families who have been bereaved through murder or culpable homicide. Families that access the service will have a dedicated support worker who will provide assistance with immediate practical tasks such as going to court, accessing specialist services including counselling, arranging funerals, and handling the media and finances.

The service has been born out the need to tackle the service provision gap in Scotland, which was highlighted in a report to the Scottish Government in 2017 by the Moira Fund, whose founder is Bea Jones, mother of Moira Jones who was murdered in Queens Park in Glasgow in 2008.

Lynn Burns, who’s son Sam was murdered five years ago, talks about how her experience of trying to navigate the complex Criminal Justice System prevented her from grieving and the need to ensure victims and families bereaved by crime receive the support they need at every stage.

The new service is part of a growing movement across Scotland to take on a ‘victim-centred’ approach, working with partners to streamline points of contact, improve information flow and ensure victims of crime feel supported through the criminal justice system. This will reduce the need for victims to have to retell their story to several different organisations as they seek help.

Victim Support Scotland was awarded £1.2 million over three years until the end of March 2021 by the Scottish Government specifically to establish this new service.

The service is completely free and family members can access the service via a Police Scotland Family Liaison Officer and other support partners. Although the service is currently only available to immediate family, wider family members and friends can still access Victim Support Scotland’s other support services by self-referral.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“We want to ensure that victims’ interests are at the heart of our criminal justice system and that it is fair, accessible and efficient for all. 

“We listened when victims’ families told us that they had faced difficulties in accessing the support that was available to them and that is why we have provided £1.2 million funding to Victim Support Scotland to deliver this free and confidential new service. 

“It will ensure that all families affected by homicide have a dedicated case worker to provide support and information at every stage of the criminal justice process, helping to reduce distress and the potential for re-traumatisation.”

Bea Jones, mother of Moira Jones and co-founder of The Moira Fund said:

 “It has been a privilege for The Moira Fund to work alongside Victim Support Scotland to establish this service and ensure that every aspect of necessary support has been covered.

“Strong links are in place to ensure a stream-lined system of support is available to desperate families who will benefit from feeling cared for at the very worst time of their lives.”

Kate Wallace, Chief Executive of Victim Support Scotland, said:

“I am pleased we have reached this point in the journey of delivering this much needed service to families across Scotland.

“What’s been critical in the development phase is involving people like Bea, who have lived through difficult and traumatic experiences.

“This has allowed us to understand their experiences and ultimately helped us to start the process of shaping better services for the future.”

For further details on the service see:
https://victimsupport.scot/bereaved-by-crime/


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