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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-15435: Kezia Dugdale (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 21 March 2018

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-14998 by Michael Matheson on 14 March 2018, in light of the data not being collected, how it measures the effectiveness of victims providing statements ahead of sentencing.

Answered by: Michael Matheson 29 March 2018

In determining sentence, the court is obliged to have regard to the statement insofar as it is relevant to the offence. This is one amongst a range of factors which the judge will consider in coming to an independent view as to the most appropriate sentence. Victims have the right to request information as to the reasons for sentencing.

Victim statements allow victims and close relatives to tell the court about the physical, emotional and financial impact of a crime on them. The effectiveness of schemes piloting the use of these statements was evaluated and the findings are published ( http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2007/03/27152727/13 ). The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has provided its staff with clear guidelines and processes to ensure that victims in all relevant cases are provided with the opportunity to give a statement. When victims complete and return Victim Impact Statements these are brought to the attention of the prosecutor and then the Judge or Sheriff prior to sentencing. We continue to work closely with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and victim support organisations to ensure victims can exercise their right to provide an impact statement and are given appropriate support and information in doing so.