Victim impact statement expansion

3 September, 2019

Victims of stalking are among those who could get the right to explain to courts how they have personally suffered as a result of crime.

A new Scottish Government consultation is asking if victims of all serious crimes – including human trafficking, domestic abuse and religiously aggravated offences – should be able to detail how they have been impacted physically, emotionally and financially by the crime.

At present, victims of violent crimes and people affected by a murder have the option of making a written victim statement about the impact a crime has had upon them to be considered by sheriffs and judges as part of the sentencing process.

Now views are being sought on widening the use of these statements.

New ways to use technology to lessen the burden on victims when making a statement are also up for consideration, which is part of broader work backed by £18 million of funding to improve support, advice and information for victims and their families.

Kate Wallace, CEO of Victim Support Scotland, said: “It’s important that those affected by crime have the opportunity to have their voices heard. We welcome the forthcoming consultation, which will look at the possibility of statements from victims which explain the impact of crime on them.

“We think it’s time to consider using these for a wider range of crimes, as well as looking at how best victim statements can be presented – be it in person, in court or pre-recorded. What’s important is that victims of crime feel that they have a voice and are able to convey the impact of the crime on them should they wish to.”

The Widening the Scope of Victim Statements consultation is open for responses until 24 November 2019.