We recognise the important role which victims have in the criminal justice system. We are committed to treating victims with compassion and respect for their dignity, and to improving the services which we provide to victims, including bereaved next of kin.
Victim Support Scotland
Victim Support Scotland (VSS) is an independent, voluntary organisation that provides emotional and practical support, information and practical help to people affected by crime. VSS is present in all Scottish communities.
Victim Support Scotland helpline: 0845 60 39 213 (Weekdays 08:00 to 20:00) www.victimsupportsco.org.uk
This is a court-based service run by VSS (above) and is provided by volunteers. It gives emotional and practical support to all witnesses attending court, including:
- advance visits to a courtroom
- information about court etiquette (how to behave in court), procedures and personnel
- emotional support for anxiety that the court appearance may cause
- arrangements for separate waiting rooms if there are concerns about contact with associates of the accused
- advice on practical matters such as parking and expenses
- a needs assessment after the trial, including referral to other agencies if required.
Victim Information and Advice Office (VIA)
- case-specific information
- information about the criminal justice system in general
- support and referrals to voluntary organisations that may be able to help you.
VIA is run by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. Your local Procurator Fiscal’s Office can put you in touch with the local VIA representative
The central objective of the Victim and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 (the Act) is to improve the experience of victims and witnesses within the criminal justice system in Scotland. One of the key provisions is that victims and witnesses have a legal right to request certain information about the case in which they are involved. The Act specifies different types of information which can be requested. A protocol (below) has been drawn up by Police Scotland, the Scottish Court Service (SCS) and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), as a guide for persons who wish information, to decide which organisation to ask, how to ask and what information you may be given. The protocol also contains styles of request form which may be used.
Protocol on Access to Information
Protocol Easy Read Summary
Victims of Crime Website
The Victims of Crime in Scotland website provides comprehensive information, including guidance on reporting crime, seeking support and sentencing.