Victims to benefit from new charge on convicted offenders
The Scottish Government has announced a new financial penalty imposed on all convicted offenders, the money from which will be used towards the cost of supporting victims of crime.
From November onwards this year, the money raised will be added to the Victim Surcharge Fund, part of the Scottish Government’s package of measures to improve support for victims and witnesses in Scotland.
Victim support organisations will be able to apply to the fund to cover the costs of providing short-term and practical support, such as new windows and locks for burglary victims, or funeral expenses for families of murder victims.
Crimes committed on or after 25 November 2019 will be eligible for this new initiative, with payments made between six to 12 months later.
Scottish Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, said:
“Experiencing crime can be an isolating and frightening experience and it’s only right that criminals should pay towards helping victims to recover and move on with their lives. The money raised through the surcharge will pay for practical support that will make a real difference to victims and their families.
“While Scotland’s long-term fall in crime means fewer people fall prey to criminals, we are continuing to invest £18 million annually to improve support, advice and information for victims. This new fund will be a valuable addition to support available and we have worked with the UK Government to ensure the necessary legislative arrangements are in place to allow its operation.
“Over the coming year we will also be carrying out further work to better understand where the gaps are in how we support victims and witnesses involved in the criminal justice system.”
Further details: Scottish Government website.
Earlier this year, Victim Support Scotland launched a new and innovative service for families bereaved by crime in Scotland. Families that access the service will have a dedicated support worker who will provide assistance with immediate practical tasks such as going to court, accessing specialist services including counselling, arranging funerals, and handling the media and finances.
Victim Support Scotland is here for anyone affected by crime – whoever you are, whatever the crime. Call our free helpline on 0800 160 1985 (8am-8pm, Mon-Fri) to speak to our friendly support team.