Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses

Apr 30, 2019

Agency Annual Reports on the Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses have been published today providing an update on how criminal justice agencies are performing against set criteria.

Standards of Service

The consolidated annual report document, produced jointly by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS), Police Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the Scottish Prison Service and the Parole Board for Scotland, is the fourth since the standards were established in support of provisions set down in the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014.

As well as extending the availability of special measures to support giving evidence in court, the 2014 Act requires the above agencies to demonstrate what measures are being taken in order to improve the experience of victims and witnesses during their engagement with the criminal justice system. 

Chief Executive of SCTS, Eric McQueen, said: “SCTS remains committed to working closely alongside our justice partners to help improve the quality of services available to victims and witnesses who are required to attend to give evidence.

As well as commenting in our report on the specific standards we have set, we have taken the opportunity this year to highlight the good work taking place more widely in the system to improve the justice experience.  With the support of the Scottish Government, this includes the development of specialised evidence suites for capturing evidence at a very early stage and negating the need for vulnerable witnesses to attend at court. Diligent case management is also having a significant impact on the levels of cases which proceed to trial in court, which again is a positive result for those who might otherwise be cited to attend.”

The five justice agencies are grateful to the members of the Victims Organisations Collaboration Forum Scotland (VOCFS), chaired by Victim Support Scotland for their continued support and for their valuable feedback on the Standards of Service.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:  “We recognise that having to engage with the criminal justice system can be a challenging and traumatic experience for victims and witnesses. We want to ensure that a victim-centred approach, developed and backed by partners, can improve the way we communicate, support and treat victims throughout their contact with the system.

“To this end, last year we launched the Victims Taskforce, bringing together senior decision-makers from justice agencies and the voluntary sector, including those who directly represent victims. The Taskforce is working to make sure the voices of victims are heard, and that their experiences with the justice system improve.  

“I welcome today’s Service Standards Report which is a reflection of the commitment across justice agencies to ensuring the way victims and witnesses are treated is at the core of our approach, and the Scottish Government will continue to work closely with the sector to deliver progress.”


  • The Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses Annual Report 2018-19 available here.
  • The Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses 2019-20  available here.


Right-hand Menu