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Five-year plan to transform victims’ experience of justice in Scotland

This news post is about 3 years old

Victim Support Scotland has unveiled its new five-year strategy

A new plan which aims to enhance support for victims of crime in Scotland has been unveiled.

Victim Support Scotland has today (Tuesday 20 April) launched its new five-year plan aimed at empowering everyone affected by crime through high-quality support and care, as well transforming victims’ experience of the justice system.

As Scotland’s leading organisation dedicated to supporting people in the aftermath of crime, Victim Support Scotland believes that Scotland has an opportunity to rethink how the justice system is supporting victims, witnesses and their families.

As crime evolves alongside new technologies, incidents of domestic abuse, fraud, and anti-social behaviour have risen, particularly during lockdown.

Victim Support Scotland has also been vocal in its concerns about the devastating impact of delays brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in court trials being delayed.

The charity believes that fair and equal access to justice and giving people affected by crime a voice, is critical to the future success of Scotland’s justice system.

Kate Wallace, chief executive of Victim Support Scotland, said: “As Scotland emerges from the Covid pandemic, there is an opportunity right now for us to rethink how justice is being delivered, particularly from a victims’ perspective.

“It has undoubtedly been a challenging time for many, and we have seen the ripple effects of this global situation throughout the courts and wider justice system.

“Long delays to trials going ahead has been hugely devastating for many victims who have suffered mentally, physically and financially as a result of this uncertainty.

“At the same time, we have seen much innovation within Scotland’s justice and third sectors with, for example, virtual trials going ahead and remote evidence being an option for some vulnerable witnesses.

“We have kept all of this front and centre of our minds as we developed our new five-year strategy, which will run for the duration of the next Scottish Parliament.

“What we want to see is that victims, witnesses and families from all backgrounds are treated with dignity and respect; and that everything possible is done to make sure that everyone impacted by crime receives the high quality support that they deserve.

“As a charity, we have for over 35-years been providing services to people throughout Scotland with practical and emotional support in their own areas and the courts.

“We have a unique ability to link people’s experiences and views of crime and the justice system, directly to decision makers at a national level. This allow us to positively influence policy and legislation, and apply pressure on government and our partners, to make sure victims and witnesses needs are put first.

“Our strategy builds on the foundations we have created within Victim Support Scotland in the last few years, and also takes our ambitions further. I am personally excited to see what we can achieve by 2026.”

Victim Support Scotland’s Strategy 2021 – 2026 centres on four strategic priorities:

  • Empower people affected by crime by providing high quality, outcome-focused support and care to all who need it.
  • Transform victims’ and witnesses’ experiences of the criminal justice system.
  • Build productive partnerships aimed at improving the experiences of those affected by crime.
  • Sustain our impact by focusing all we do, in every area of the organisation, on making a lasting difference for people affected by crime.

For more details, see the Victim Support Scotland website.