Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses Annual Report 2022-2023

Nov 30, 2023

In line with the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014, the Annual Standards of Service Report has been published today. It is a joint report produced by 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.  Each justice partner is responsible for setting their own standards of service and reporting on them, however, we have worked collaboratively from the outset to publish a joint annual report on our performance against the standards.

The annual report focuses on the steps taken by each organisation to help victims and witnesses feel supported, safe and informed at every stage of their journey. The importance of ensuring that the standards set continue to be met, challenged and reviewed is widely recognised and the annual report continues to provide a platform for reflection and future planning.

SCTS Chief Executive Officer, Eric McQueen, said:

“SCTS remains committed to improving the experience of victims and witnesses in their journey through Scotland’s justice system.

“While the pandemic was incredibly challenging it has accelerated digital innovation, transforming the landscape we operate in. Combined with the progress being made through the court recovery programme, we have a real opportunity to enhance innovation further, improving victims and witnesses experience of the justice system. 

“A key component in the transformation of our criminal justice system is the implementation of the Lord Justice Clerk’s Review into the management of sexual offence cases. The review recommendations seek to establish a specialist court, underpinned by pre-recording of evidence and enhanced trauma informed approaches. In anticipation we are already expanding our specialist evidence suites, increasing our capacity for evidence to be taken remotely and exploring new trauma informed approaches to domestic abuse, incorporating the use of virtual courts.

“We are grateful for the continued support of 3rd sector organisations and will continue to work with them in developing trauma informed solutions that support people in their journey through the justice system.”

The Standards of Service reflect our continuous commitment to ensuring that victims and witnesses feel able to give their best evidence. The pandemic created unprecedented challenges across all of SCTS resulting in a comprehensive recovery programme. We remain committed to ensuring that victims and witnesses continue to be supported, feel reassured and have confidence in the justice system. We continue to create better systems for our users by learning and adapting the approaches taken, as well as working collaboratively with justice partners to continuously improve the lived experience of victims and witnesses.

During this reporting year, we reviewed our Standards of Service to ensure they continue to meet the needs of victims and witnesses attending court. As a result, minimal changes were made and the standards reflect the changes throughout SCTS to ensure victims and witnesses feel able to give their best evidence. SCTS will continue to co-ordinate and drive action to improve the experiences of victims and witnesses within the criminal justice system.

The Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses Annual Report 2022-2023 is available here.

The Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses 2023-2024 are available here

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