Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses

Apr 30, 2015

Today sees the publication of Scottish criminal justice organisations Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses. 

The document explains what victims and witnesses can expect to happen at each stage of the criminal justice process, specific standards of service to expect, and includes how to complain if not satisfied.

It is essential for the Scottish criminal justice system to support and protect those who are victims and witnesses, to ensure they are treated fairly and are well supported. They should also have access to the information they need during the currency of the proceedings.

Section 2 of the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 requires Police Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, the Scottish Prison Service and the Parole Board for Scotland to set and publish standards of service for victims and witnesses.

The common standards of service;

  • Ensure you have fair and equal access to services throughout and are treated with dignity and respect at all times regardless of background, age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, race, nationality, religion, belief or sexual orientation. Where required, additional support will be provided and any reasonable adjustments made to ensure that you have access to information and support services;
  • Work together and in partnership with victim and witness support organisations to ensure you are provided with the best service possible;

The specific standards from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service:

  • If you are a witness, we will update you on the progress of the court case at least once per hour and advise you when you can leave the court;
  • We will provide separate waiting rooms for prosecution and defence witnesses, and access to refreshments;
  • If you are entitled to give your evidence to court by live TV link, we will meet you on the day and explain the process for giving your evidence to court;
  • We will respond to requests received on behalf of witnesses, for court familiarisation visits, within 3 working days of receipt; and
  • If you want to know what support is available to you when you arrive at court, we will direct you to the Witness Service or other support services which are present in the court building.

All of the standards will be monitored, reviewed and reported on annually.

Standards of Service 

For further support, advice and guidance for victims:

Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014:

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