Justice scales

Scotland supporting independent Commissioner to support victims

The Scottish Government have announced that the creation of an independent Commissioner to champion the voice of victims was widely supported by the respondents of a public consultation on how to support victims.

The consultation, which lasted three months, was aiming to analyse who the Scottish Government can improve peoples’ experiences of the justice system. The main outcomes of how improvements can be implemented were centred around how complainers in sexual offence cases can be given an automatic right to anonymity, as well as approaches that are better trauma-informed and person-centred.

Another place that the respondents showed the justice system can be improved is through their strong support for independent legal support being provided for people who have their sexual histories questioned during sexual offence cases, with the aim of this being to ensure that their views can be made known to the court affectively.

Justice Secretary Keith Brown said:

“We continue to take robust action to tackle sexual offending - improving the law and encouraging more victims to come forward - but it is only right that victims are properly served by Scotland’s justice system which I am committed to continuing to reform.

“It is vital that people, not least victims of crime, are treated with compassion in a way that prevents potential further trauma. The final content of the Criminal Justice Reform Bill will be finalised in the coming months and I am grateful to all those who contributed to the consultation which will help shape the legislation that we introduce to Parliament.”

The responses to the consultation will help to form judgements on what the final content of the Criminal Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill should be, with legislation set to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament by summer 2023. This will also likely include previously announced provisions that would end Scotland’s third, ‘Not Proven’ verdict in criminal trials.

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