Welcome recognition for victims in government programme
The Scottish Government has announced its programme for the next year and we’re pleased to note several references to the needs of victims and witnesses of crime.
Two key points are about the new homicide service that’s due to launch in spring 2019 and the development of a victim-centred support model to reduce the need for people to retell their story to different organisations as they look for help.
As announced in April, Victim Support Scotland (VSS) has been awarded £13.8 million over three years, part of which will be used to create the homicide service that will give families of murder victims access to a dedicated case worker and continuous support.
Other elements of the government’s plans are also welcome, including increasing the range of crimes where victims can make impact statements in court, improved support for victims around prison release arrangements, and better transparency about the parole system.
We are looking forward to working with the Scottish Government and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf, who came to the Edinburgh Victim Service in July this year, just two weeks into his new role.
During his visit Mr Yousaf spoke to staff and volunteers about the service VSS provides and the challenges we face. He was impressed by the commitment and dedication shown by our volunteers to individual victims and witnesses, and how we support people through the criminal justice system.
Just before his visit Mr Yousaf announced the launch of an ‘easy read’ version of the Victims’ Code for Scotland to help victims with communications difficulties understand their rights and improve their experience of the justice system.
The proposals set out today will continue the wide range of work that’s going on to improve the support available to the victims of witnesses of crimes and we’re excited to be a part of those changes.