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SCTS News

Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses

Apr 30, 2018

The Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses Annual Report 2017-18 has been published today providing an update on how criminal justice agencies are performing on the standards.

Standards of Service

The report, which is produced jointly by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, Police Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the Scottish Prison Service and the Parole Board for Scotland, is the third since the standards were established following the commencement of the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014.

The Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 extended the availability of special measures to support giving evidence in court.  The number of applications and notices for such measures and the use of screens and supporters by witnesses has been particularly marked with a threefold increase since 2015. 

SCTS is committed, along with its justice partners, to improving the experience of victims and witnesses and strives to provide the necessary information, support, facilities and accommodation to meet their needs.  The five justice agencies are grateful to the members of the Victims Organisations Collaboration Forum Scotland (VOCFS), chaired by Victim Support Scotland for their continued support and for their valuable feedback on the Standards of Service.

As well as working on initiatives emerging from the Standards of Service in the coming 12 months, SCTS continues to lead the work with justice partners on the Evidence and Procedure Review (EPR), exploring the manner in which evidence is presented to court and how we might improve the experience of those involved in that process.  Work is also underway to implement the recommendations of the EPR’s Joint Investigative Interviews Workstream Report published in 2017.

  • The Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses Annual Report 2017-18 is available here 
  • The Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses 2018-19 are available here.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:

“The way in which victims and witnesses are treated should be a key indicator of the quality of our criminal justice system.  I want to develop a new victim-centred approach, working with partners to streamline points of contact, improve information flow and ensure victims are treated fairly and feel supported throughout their contact with the system.

"This report demonstrates the commitment to promote the fundamental rights of victims and witnesses and to account publicly for performance.  It highlights positive steps that are being taken by all justice partners to place victims and witnesses at the heart of the process and also identifies key areas where support could be further improved.  We will continue to work hard with partners to deliver that improvement.”

 

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