Justice and Safety

First meeting of Victims Taskforce

December 12, 2018 by No Comments | Category Justice

Group to drive progress to ensure victims’ voices are strengthened meets for the first time.

A new expert group will today (Wednesday 12 December) meet for the first time to improve support, advice and information for victims of crime.

Co-chaired by the Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf and Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC, the Victims Taskforce brings together senior decision-makers from justice agencies, the legal profession, academia and the voluntary sector, including direct representation of victims.

At the first meeting the Taskforce will focus on confirming their remit and membership; how best to engage more broadly with victims and witnesses; and how best to fulfil their remit.

Lynn Burns, who has campaigned for better support for victims and their families, will bring her direct experience as a member of the group.

Speaking ahead of the first meeting, the Justice Secretary said:

“While the long-term fall in crime over the last decade means fewer people fall prey to criminals in Scotland, where anyone is a victim it is essential the justice system and wider public services provide the best possible support and advice to them and their loved-ones.

“One of the first items for us to discuss will be how we broaden our engagement with victims and witnesses and ensure that the Taskforce is directly informed by them. I am keen that it is a forum for debate, and I am pleased that Lynn Burns has accepted the invitation to represent victims on the taskforce.”

The Lord Advocate said:

“The Taskforce represents an opportunity to improve the experience of victims of crime, to reassure them that the system will provide support and to give them confidence to come forward, speak up and make sure their voices are heard.

“I welcome the first meeting of the Taskforce and look forward to working with the members of the Taskforce as we take forward this important work.”

Lynn Burns said:

“When our son Sam was murdered my family felt uninformed, unheard, isolated and alone. I know that many families have also felt this way.

“At times it felt like there was little clarity and transparency. It does not seem unreasonable to be able to expect scrutiny, or ask questions when you are in the most traumatic of situations.

“I am hopeful that the Victims Taskforce will address this and, by putting people at the centre of the system, treat them with care, compassion and kindness – To help victims and families feel that their voices are being heard and acknowledged.”

List of members  

Name Organisation
Humza Yousaf MSP Scottish Government – Cabinet Secretary for Justice – (Co-chair)
James Wolffe QC Scottish Government – Lord Advocate (Co-chair)
Neil Rennick Scottish Government, Director of Justice
Michael Chalmers Scottish Government, Director of Children and Families
Iain Livingstone Police Scotland, Chief Constable
David Harvie COPFS, Crown Agent
Eric McQueen Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service, Chief Executive
Colin McConnell Scottish Prisons Service, Chief Executive
John Watt Parole Board, Chair
Pauline Proudfoot Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, Operational Development Manager
Karyn McCluskey Chief Executive, Community Justice Scotland
Kathryn Lindsay Scottish Social Work (Head of Children, Families & Justice at Angus Council)
Kate Wallace Victim Support Scotland, Chief Executive
Marsha Scott Women’s Aid, Chief Executive
Sandy Brindley Rape Crisis Scotland, Chief Executive
Mhairi McGowan Head of ASSIST and Domestic Abuse services
Mary Glasgow Children 1st, Chief Executive
Victims Organisations Collaboration Forum Scotland Rotating seat –

Ann Galbraith, Action against Stalking will attend the first meeting

Lorna Jack Law Society of Scotland, Chief executive
Angela Grahame Faculty of Advocates, Vice-Dean
Margaret Malloch Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, Director
Lynn Burns Victim’s Voice

Further information about policies and projects to improve the experience for victims and witnesses in Scotland is available on the Scottish Government website.

The 2016-17 Scottish Crime & Justice Survey, which includes incidents not reported to police, indicated that crime in Scotland has fallen by around a third since 2008-09, while more people than ever feel safe in their local area.  Similarly, the proportion of adults experiencing crime fell from around one in five in 2008-09 to fewer than one in seven in 2016-17.


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