Date lodged: 27 September 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what action it has taken since the enactment of the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 to encourage improvement in keeping the victims of crime informed as to the progress of cases in which they are involved.
Answered by: Michael Matheson 25 October 2017
The Scottish Government has taken a number of steps in this regard.
We implemented section 6 of the 2014 Act in January 2015. This provides victims and witnesses with a new right to request information about the criminal investigation or proceedings in which they are involved. We worked closely with Police Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service to ensure the necessary operational procedures would be in place to facilitate victims accessing this right. These organisations have produced an Access to Information Protocol, to guide victims in requesting such information.
On 22 February 2016, we published a Victims’ Code, which clearly and simply sets out the rights of victims in one place, including the right to request certain information.
Most recently, our Justice Vision and Priorities: Delivery Plan 2017-18 published on 11 July 2017, included an action for justice partners to work with the third sector to create access to a single point of contact to provide support for victims and witnesses. Work has commenced, with a workshop held on 22 September 2017, bringing together representatives from across the criminal justice agencies and third sector.