New taskforce will aim to help crime victims

Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC.
Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC.

A new Victims Taskforce will meet for the first time next month, in a move aimed at making sure those who suffer at the hands of criminals are fully supported by the justice system.

In future this could mean victims will be able to tell the court how a crime has affected them emotionally, financially and physically, and give families a clearer understanding of the prisoner release system.

The initiative, announced by the Scottish Government today, also aims to take more effective action to help victims of sex crimes.

Where possible it will additionally seek to avoid forcing victims of any type of crime to keep having to repeat details to assorted different agencies.

The action follows years of concern about the fate of people who are argued to have been sidelined or ignored by the justice system - or who find themselves facing a maze of bureaucracy often seen as treating them as an afterthought.

Other aspects of the scheme are set to include a “restorative justice action plan” where - if appropriate - offenders could be made to engage with people they have wronged.

Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC said: “The provision of appropriate and meaningful support to the victims of crime is part of a modern criminal justice system.

“Prosecutors can only do their job of delivering justice if victims and witnesses are willing to come forward and give evidence.

“The Taskforce represents an opportunity to improve the experience of victims, to reassure them that the system will provide support and give them confidence to come forward, speak up and make sure their voices are heard.”