More victims could have voices heard in court
1 September 2019, 08:22 | Updated: 1 September 2019, 08:24
Victims of all serious crimes could be given the right to explain to courts the personal impact it has had on them.
Currently only victims of violent crimes and those affected by a murder have the option of making a written victim statement for consideration by sheriffs and judges as part of the sentencing process.
Views are being sought by the Scottish Government on widening the use of these statements to people who have experienced crimes such as stalking, human trafficking and domestic abuse.
Also under consideration as part of the consultation are plans to introduce new ways to use technology to lessen the burden on victims when making a statement.
Funding of £18 million has been provided by ministers over 2019-2020 to support victims.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "The long-term fall in crime over the last decade means fewer people fall prey to criminals in Scotland but any experience of a serious crime can be traumatic and the fallout can affect many parts of a victim's life.
"Victim statements are a way of giving people the option of having their voice heard in court to tell their side of the story - how they and their loved ones have been impacted by the crime.
"For maximum effectiveness the system must keep pace with technology and changes to the criminal law and we are committed to ensuring the voices of victims are represented as we continue developing victim support."