Criminal justice partnerships
Scottish Prison Service
We work with the Scottish Prison Service to train their staff on victim impact and awareness. We have established a short-life working group to oversee the joint work-plan, with colleagues from the Scottish Prison Service, to ensure that victims and bereaved families participating in the Victim Notification Scheme have access to support at an earlier stage.
We have a strong working relationship with Police Scotland and our joint working plan aims to improve the number of referrals to Victim Support Scotland from Police Scotland enabling us put victims and witnesses first. We work together closely on a range of initiatives to raise awareness of our work and highlight the need for police officers to make victims aware of our services. Victim Care Cards, informing victims of their rights and providing contact details for support organisations including Victim Support Scotland, are used by all active ‘on duty’ police officers across Scotland. We assisted Police Scotland to re-design and deliver a probationer training module on supporting victims. As a result, new police recruits have a comprehensive understanding of the impact of crime on victims and an awareness of the support we offer through our services. We have also produced a film to increase awareness of our work, which has been shown as part of mandatory briefings for all officers.
We work closely with the Scottish Government through the Victims Taskforce and VOCFS to place the voices of victims and witnesses of crime at the forefront of developing new legislative priorities for Scotland. Victim Support Scotland regularly responds to consultations and calls for evidence from the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament and other external partners to provide a voice for victims and witnesses in the legislative process. Find our previous responses here.
Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA)
We have built a close partnership with the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) to support child victims referred to courts for a proof hearing. We have been able to improve descriptions of Victim Support Scotland’s services in letters provided by SCRA to victims of young offenders. A leaflet has also been created to accompany the letters which gives guidance to victims of child offenders about the justice system and the service that we can provide for them.
Homeless victims of crime
Homeless people are often vulnerable, contending with assault, rape, robbery and human trafficking. As a critical part of our strategy, we are working with organisations such as Glasgow City Mission and Social Bite to engage people experiencing homelessness who have been affected by crime. We have made personal alarms available and continue to raise awareness of our third-party reporting centres that allow a crime to be reported without attending a police station. We have also highlighted our court and community-based services which help people navigate through the criminal justice system. We are continuing to encourage self-referrals and seek additional ways to engage with the homeless community who have been affected by crime.
Local initiatives Victim Support
Scotland continues to build strong local partnerships across the country. Examples include: work with the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service and other justice partners in Inverness in advance of the new Justice Centre due to open early 2020; engaging with local LGBTI+ services; involvement with Fife College; and success in our Central region accessing more remote areas to provide support to local communities. Most local offices participate in community justice partnership meetings for their region, bringing the victim’s perspective to the fore. During Victims Awareness Week, staff and volunteers were active in each community, raising the profile of the organisation locally and through the media.