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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-19958: Kezia Dugdale (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 15 November 2018

To ask the Scottish Government how it ensures that victims of crime are informed of the perpetrator's (a) application for parole and (b) application for home visits.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 28 November 2018

In all criminal cases where an offender is sentenced to a period of imprisonment, victims have a right to be told about the release of the relevant prisoner.

In cases where the offender has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment or more, victims and their families can register with the Victim Notification Scheme (VNS).

The VNS is in two parts and victims and their families can opt into either, or both. Part One of the scheme provides registered victims with information about a prisoner’s release, death or if they abscond. Part Two of the scheme, allows the victim to make representations to the Scottish Prison Service in advance of a prisoner being considered for temporary release, release on Home Detention Curfew or consideration by the Parole Board. Further information about the VNS can be found here: https://www.mygov.scot/after-the-verdict/victim-notification-schemes/ .

We want to do more to support victims to navigate the parole system. That is why we will consult on measures to improve the openness and transparency of the parole process before the end of this year. This consultation will also seek views on how to strengthen the voice of victims in relation to parole and improve the provision of support and information. These issues and other Programme for Government commitments to improve support for victims will be considered by the Victims Taskforce, which will be co-chaired by the Justice Secretary and the Lord Advocate and will meet for the first time on 12 th December.