Justice and Safety

The week in review

June 3, 2017 by No Comments | Category Civil law, Community safety, Justice, Police, Prisons, Reducing Crime

Tackling Trafficking

On Tuesday Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson launched Scotland’s Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy, following an extensive public consultation.

The strategy aims to identify victims and support them to safety and recovery, to track down perpetrators and disrupt their activity and to address the conditions that can foster human trafficking.

Launching the strategy, Mr Matheson said it had been developed with the input of victims who had provided a unique insight into the physical and psychological damage caused by trafficking and exploitation.

He added: “Better awareness among the general public and training for professionals is key to this work, which will be taken forward with a range of partners, including the Police, Crown and third sector. The trafficking and exploitation of adults and children is happening in Scotland today and we all have a role in bringing it to an end.

Firing up ambition for life outside

Credit: Scottish Prison Service

Credit: Scottish Prison Service

On Thursday, the Justice Secretary saw first-hand how the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service is supporting rehabilitation work with young men at HM Young Offenders Institute Polmont through an employment skills project.

Mr Matheson met some of the first cohort to complete the Fireskills programme, which aims to develop work skills and build confidence and has involved 13 young men so far since beginning in January, with another two courses planned for this year.

One of those undertaking the training, Callum, commented on the first aid module, saying: “It’s not something I had ever even thought about. I was a bit worried, I was a bit nervous about doing it, because I thought, what if I do this wrong but I caught on really easy. It is good to think that one day, maybe I’ll be able to save somebody, or help somebody else save someone’s life, which is something I could be happy with.”

You can watch a video of Mr Matheson’s visit on the Scottish Government Facebook page.

Our colleagues at the Scottish Prison Service have also this week launched Scotland’s first prison-based assistance dog training programme at HMP Castle Huntly, alongside partners Paws for Progress and the Dementia Dog Project. The innovative new scheme aims to develop employability skills, enhance engagement with education, and improve participants’ well-being, while improving dog welfare more widely and helping provide highly-trained assistance dogs to help people living with dementia in the community. The Courier newspaper published a video of Tuesday’s launch as part of its online coverage. The Dementia Dog Project is a partnership between Alzheimer Scotland and Dogs for Good.

Widening access to justice

Minister for Legal Affairs Annabelle Ewing this week unveiled legislation to make civil justice more affordable and accessible.

The Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill provides the legal framework to implement a number of key recommendations of Sheriff Principal James Taylor’s Review of Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation in Scotland.

If passed by Parliament, the Bill would make the cost of court action more predictable at the outset and, for the first time, allow solicitors, as well as claims management  companies, to offer damages-based agreements which are a form of  ‘no win, no fee’ agreement  where the fee is calculated as a percentage of the damages recovered.

The Minister said: “We know from Sheriff Principal Taylor’s review that the potential costs involved in civil court action can deter many people from pursuing legal action even where they have a justified claim. That is not acceptable and is something this Bill will address by creating a more accessible, affordable and equitable civil justice system for Scotland.”

Rail policing plans on track

Also this week, the Railway Policing Scotland Bill completed Stage 2 in the Scottish Parliament

If passed at Stage 3 later this month, the legislation will see the British Transport Police in Scotland integrated into Police Scotland, creating a more effective, joined-up police service on the country’s railways.

Police Scotland has made clear that specialist railway policing expertise and capacity will be maintained while improving access to wider support facilities and specialist equipment.

You can read more about the legislation on the Bill page on the Scottish Parliament website.

Young Scots reveal challenges to digital rights

Also this week, a report presented to Ministers revealed that more than half (59%) of young people have experienced or know someone who has been effected by bullying online.

The report was developed and delivered by a group of young people called the Young Scot 5Rights Youth Commission, who visited the Parliament on Tuesday to present their findings to Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism & External Affairs Fiona Hyslop and Minister for Childcare & Early Year Mark McDonald.

Mr McDonald said: “We want children and young people to be protected, safe and supported in the online world and for them to be able to enjoy the internet, show resilience and take advantage of the opportunities it has to offer. We will do all we can to invest in their digital resilience of our children and young people to enable them to exercise their digital rights fully.”

Read more about the findings on the Young Scot website.


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