Awareness Week: Victims of crime in Falkirk need to know their rights

It’s Victims Awareness Week and people are reminded they are far from powerless when it comes to bringing justice to those who perpetrated crimes against them.

By James Trimble
Monday, 22nd February 2021, 4:20 pm

Running until February 28, Victims Awareness Week is Victim Support Scotland’s annual initiative which aims to champion those who have had crimes committed against them and make sure they have the ability to stand up for their rights.

This year the group is launching the Your Space campaign, which focuses on everyone’s right to get support following a crime, under the Victims’ Code for Scotland.

A Victim Support Scotland spokesperson said: “Anyone can be affected by crime at any time. Many people have little or no knowledge of the criminal justice process and are unaware of their rights as victims or witnesses and so are unable to exercise them.

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Victims Awareness Week aims to remind people of the rights they have and support available to them if a crime is committed against them

"If people impacted by crime don’t know what rights they have, they are immediately at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing the support they need as well as knowing what they can expect from the justice system.”

Victim and witness rights are set out in the Scottish Government’s Victims’ Code for Scotland.

The code includes the right to expect a minimum standard of service and to to be treated fairly and equally by authorities.

People should also have the right to information about their case and receive updates, be helped to understand what is happening and feel safe and protected from intimidation.

There should be support available – whether you report the crime to the police or not – and there should be the opportunity to complain if people are unhappy about the way an organisation has treated you during the process of dealing with the case.

To coincide with the awareness week, Police Scotland has made details available about rights people have if they are a victim of a crime.

The force stated: “When giving a statement to police you can ask to have a person of your choice or your legal representative with you. If circumstances do not permit this, the reason will be explained to you.

“In some instances, depending on the nature of the crime, you will also have the option to choose if you would prefer a male or female officer to interview you. We will try to meet your request wherever possible.

“We will ensure you receive a Victim’s Care Card which will provide details of your enquiry officer, the crime you reported, information on Scottish Government’s Victim’s Code and how to access victim support services.

“If you have been impacted by crime – as a victim or a witness – we will ensure you have access to victim support services. You may request a referral to services through Police Scotland or other criminal justice partners at any time in your journey through the criminal justice system.

“If you prefer, you may contact these support services independently. If you have been a victim of a crime but don’t wish to report it to the police, you can still contact victim support services for their assistance.”

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