Justice and Safety

Supporting victims of crime

February 22, 2016 by No Comments | Category Reducing Crime

The Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Paul Wheelhouse is today marking European Day for Victims of Crime by launching the Victims’ Code for Scotland.

It sets out clearly and simply what rights and entitlements a person has if they find themselves a victim of crime, for example a right to interpretation and translation, expenses and return of property. It also acts as a signpost to further information, advice and support.

The Minister is meeting staff and volunteers at the Scottish Borders Abuse and Trauma Recovery Service in Selkirk to learn more about their work helping and supporting young victims and to hear how the new Code will assist them in their efforts.

The centre is just one of many across the country providing a valuable support service to communities throughout Scotland.

Recorded crime is now at a 41 year low having fallen 39 per cent since 2007 and the Scottish Government remains committed to doing all it can to continue to see crime rates fall while supporting and protecting victims of crime through the criminal justice system.

That is why this Government introduced the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act in 2014-15. It made significant improvements such as giving victims the right to receive information about their case, greater transparency in reviewing decisions not to prosecute, and provided victims of certain offences the right to request that they be interviewed by a particular gender of police officer.

Late last year also saw the coming into force of the Victims’ Rights (Scotland) Regulations 2015, which placed a number of rights of victims on a legal footing for the first time, and with it the publication of the Victims’ Code for Scotland, which sets out the rights of victims of crime in one place.

We recognised, however, that after a crime a victim may be too upset to remember their rights or what information they may need.  To help address this we produced the Victims’ Code for Scotland.

From today, it will be available in a number of languages at https://www.mygov.scot/victim-witness-rights/ and we are currently working on easy read and child friendly versions to ensure even greater accessibility.

Cross-EU action on important issues like victims’ rights demonstrates that the European Union is not simply about economic union but also remains key to solidarity, social protection and mutual support.

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