Consultation on widening the scope of the current victim statement scheme

Closes 24 Nov 2019

Opened 1 Sep 2019

Overview

In Scotland, victims of the most serious crimes may be eligible to make a victim statement. This is a written statement that gives a victim the chance to tell the court – in their own words – how a crime has affected them physically, emotionally and financially. In reaching their sentencing decision the Judge or Sheriff will take into account a number of different factors, reports and other information available to them, including the victim statement.

We have committed to consulting on the details of widening the range of serious crimes which carry the right to make a victim statement.

Why We Are Consulting

The purpose of this consultation is to seek your views on proposed changes to the current victim statement scheme.

The list of offences in relation to which a statement can be made was prescribed in 2009. Since then a number of new, serious offences have come into force in Scotland in relation to which a victim statement cannot be made, for example stalking and the domestic abuse aggravation. In addition, the courts in which a victim statement can be taken into account are limited to solemn proceedings[1].

At this time, the statement can only be presented in writing, however section 23 of the Victims & Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 (the 2014 Act) provides powers to pilot (and extend more widely if appropriate) different ways for a victim statement to be made, for example by pre-recording it so it can be played in court.

We are committed to putting victims of crime at the centre of the justice system and to improving support, advice and information for victims and their families.

This consultation is a key part of ensuring that victims’ voices are represented. It will help us decide how the current list of offences should be updated and which offences should be included. It will also help us consider whether we should pilot new ways for victim statements to be made to the court and obtain views on any other aspects of the current process which you consider could be improved.

 


[1] Solemn proceedings involve the most serious of criminal cases and may ultimately lead to a trial on indictment, either before a judge in the High Court or before a sheriff in one of the sheriff courts.  Trials under solemn procedure are conducted with a jury.

Read the consultation paper.

Give us your views

Interests

  • Law and Order