Mother of murdered Moira Jones backs plan to help bereaved families

The mother of a woman murdered in a Glasgow park a decade ago has welcomed funding for the creation of a new service to help the families of homicide victims.

Justice secretary Michael Matheson meets with VSS chief executive Kate Wallace, left, and Bea Jones
Justice secretary Michael Matheson meets with VSS chief executive Kate Wallace, left, and Bea Jones

Bea Jones, whose daughter Moira was abducted and murdered in 2008, said she hoped the cash injection would end a “hit and miss” system which previously saw some bereaved relatives fall through “gaps” in the services available in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has announced funding of £13.8 million for Victim Support Scotland (VSS) over three years.

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Of that total, £1.2m will go towards the new homicide service led by VSS, giving the families of those murdered or killed access to a dedicated case worker.

Mrs Jones, 76, whose 40-year-old daughter Moira was raped and murdered yards from her home, in Glasgow’s Queen’s Park, said she is pleased that the new service will be set up.

Mrs Jones, who established the charity The Moira Fund, has been campaigning for such a service over the last few years and has previously spoken out about the need for extra funds.

She said: “We are absolutely delighted and we’d been hoping for news like that for quite some time. It’s all culminated in this fantastic news that Scotland is going to have a homicide support service.”

Mrs Jones said she believes Scotland has previously lagged behind England and Wales, where a homicide support service was set up several years ago.

The new Scottish service will offer grieving families a single point of contact who can liaise with schools, employers, social services, medical and legal services on their behalf.

It is expected to reduce the need for families to have to retell their story to many different organisations as they seek help.

Mrs Jones said “In Scotland, there were a number of very good health agencies, but there were gaps in between them and it was worrying that families were dropping down the gaps and sometimes not getting into the system at all.”

Justice secretary Michael Matheson announced the new funding on a visit to VSS, which received £4.2m in 2017/18.

He said: “I am aware that victims and their families often have to turn to multiple organisations to get information about the criminal justice process and find out what support they are entitled to receive.

“I want to improve the situation and that is why I am announcing funding for VSS to work in partnership with criminal justice and victim support bodies to develop a new approach.”