Victims at centre of plans for fairer Scottish justice system
THE Scottish Government has set out plans to create a justice system which is fairer to victims in a new consultation.
The proposals for the Scottish justice system include:
• Making offenders help fund services needed by victims and those affected by crime
• Requiring courts to consider compensation in cases of injury, loss or distress
• Victims of a sexual offence or domestic abuse given the right to give evidence via televised links
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has proposed a victim surcharge so that offenders help fund services needed by people affected by their crimes, where possible.
Other recommendations include requiring the courts to consider compensation in every case where a victim has suffered injury, loss or distress.
The right to special measures when giving evidence in court, such as testifying via live television links, will be an automatic right for sexual offence and domestic abuse victims.
Mr MacAskill said: “The way we treat our victims and witnesses is a measure of the quality of our justice system as a whole which exists to build a safer and stronger Scotland.
“Clearly, people do not choose to become a victim or indeed a witness. That is why a key focus of my work as Justice Secretary is to stop people becoming victims in the first place and we are making progress with crime at a 35-year low.
“Every victim is one too many and the impact of crime can live on long after the justice system has moved on to another case. When people do become victims, they are entitled to receive high quality support, the right information at the right time and a chance to have their voices heard.
“I have published this consultation with the intention of placing victims and witnesses right at the very heart of the criminal justice system, not as passive spectators, but as informed, supported and valued people whose needs must be served.”
He said the range of practical new measures, including a surcharge will provide new funds to assist victims while making offenders pay for their crimes.
Jim Andrews, deputy chief executive of Victim Support Scotland, added: “We welcome the opportunity to work with the government and the parliament in ensuring that among the finalised proposals are those which recognise the problems faced by the individuals and families who require our support.
“There are clearly a number of major issues which have to be addressed and Victim Support Scotland will play its part in helping to further modernise Scotland’s criminal justice system.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West