Fund for compensation for crime victims still not operational- 5 years after it was approved

LIb Den Liam McArthur
LIb Den Liam McArthur
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A fund to help the victims of crime is still not operational five years after it was approved in legislation.

The Victim Surcharge Fund, into which criminals will be made to pay to compensate victims, is expected to raise more than £1 million a year.

It was included in the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act passed by MSPs in 2013, but is still not up and running. In response to a parliamentary question from the Liberal Democrats, justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Establishment of the Victim Surcharge Fund (VSF) has taken longer than anticipated as we’ve undertaken detailed consideration and consultation with partners on the most effective mechanisms to operate and manage the VSF.

“Our intention is to announce further details on the fund following the summer parliamentary recess.”

Mr Yousaf said the government is providing £17.9 million to third sector organisations whose work supports victims of crime.

It also emerged that another provision of the legislation is “not yet in force”.

Under Police Restitution Orders, officers can receive compensation if assaulted in the course of duty but none have been made to date.

Lib Dem justice spokesman Liam McArthur said: “The SNP government paraded these schemes but have failed to get them off the ground. Between them, victims of crime and police officers have missed out on millions of pounds of criminals’ cash as a result.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We remain committed to the introduction of the Victim Surcharge Fund and have been working closely with partners and the UK government to ensure the necessary legislative and other arrangements are put in place to operate and manage the fund.

“We anticipate being able to announce further details shortly.

“In the meantime we are providing £17.9m in 2018-19 to third-sector organisations whose work supports victims of crime, including £4.6m to Victim Support Scotland,