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Victims of Crime

We recognise the important role which victims have in the criminal justice system. We are committed to treating victims with compassion and respect for their dignity, and to improving the services which we provide to victims, including bereaved next of kin.

Obtaining information

Victims and witnesses have a legal right to request certain information about the case in which they are involved. A protocol (below) has been drawn up by Police Scotland, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), explaining who to contact for information.

Protocol on Access to Information
Protocol Easy Read Summary

SCTS information 

Victims can request 
• the dates of any court hearings 
• the final decision of a court in a trial and any reasons for it
• the final decision of any appeal arising from a trial, and any reasons for it.

Reasons for sentences & appeals

Victims can request any reasons given for the sentence that the judge imposes. This can be done by completing this form and sending it (along with the identification called for in the form) to the court in which the case was heard. 

If the case is appealed, the victims can ask for the reasons why the appeal was either allowed or not allowed. 

Victim statements 

When deciding a sentence, judges take into account the effect of a crime on a victim. For some more serious crimes, victims have the right to provide a statement to the court in their own words explaining how they have been affected by the crime. This can be how it affected them physically, emotionally and financially. Read more about victim statements

Useful Contacts:

Victim Support Scotland

Victim Support Scotland (VSS) is an independent, voluntary organisation that provides emotional and practical support, information and practical help to people affected by crime. VSS is present in all Scottish communities.

Victim Support Scotland helpline: 0800 160 1985 (Weekdays 08:00 to 20:00) www.victimsupportsco.org.uk

Witness Service

This is a court-based service run by VSS (above) and is provided by volunteers. It gives emotional and practical support to all witnesses attending court, including:

  • advance visits to a courtroom
  • information about court etiquette (how to behave in court), procedures and personnel
  • emotional support for anxiety that the court appearance may cause
  • arrangements for separate waiting rooms if there are concerns about contact with associates of the accused
  • advice on practical matters such as parking and expenses
  • a needs assessment after the trial, including referral to other agencies if required.

Victim Information and Advice Office (VIA)

  • case-specific information
  • information about the criminal justice system in general
  • support and referrals to voluntary organisations that may be able to help you.

VIA is run by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. Your local Procurator Fiscal’s Office can put you in touch with the local VIA representative

Obtaining information

The central objective of the Victim and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 (the Act) is to improve the experience of victims and witnesses within the criminal justice system in Scotland. One of the key provisions is that victims and witnesses have a legal right to request certain information about the case in which they are involved. The Act specifies different types of information which can be requested. A protocol (below) has been drawn up by Police Scotland, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), as a guide for persons who wish information, to decide which organisation to ask, how to ask and what information you may be given. The protocol also contains styles of request form which may be used.

Victims of Crime Website

The Victims Support website provides comprehensive information, including guidance on reporting crime, seeking support and sentencing.