Victims Awareness Week 2020 Parliamentary Reception
On Tuesday 18 February, Victim Support Scotland held a reception at the Scottish Parliament, kindly sponsored by Rona Mackay MSP, to help mark Victims Awareness Week. We were also joined by victims rights campaigner, Matthew McVarish, and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf.
During the evening, guests had the opportunity to hear from Chief Executive Kate Wallace about our Victims Awareness Week campaign ‘your rights, your code’ which aims to ensure people affected by crime know more about what they are entitled to under the Victim’s Code for Scotland and to highlight the impact of Victim Support Scotland’s work to support victims and witnesses of crime across the country.
"At any time, any one of us could experience a crime. We therefore think the public need to have better awareness and knowledge of the rights they are entitled to after a crime has taken place."
"If people don’t know what rights they have, they are immediately at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing the support they need as well as knowing what they can expect from the justice system."
Kate also took the opportunity to tell MSPs more about the steps Victim Support Scotland are taking to improve our services. By introducing webchat and overhauling our website to make it easier to find information in bitesize, understandable chunks, we are able to reach more people needing help and support than ever before.
The audience was invited to watch our newly released video, ‘Whoever you are, whatever the crime, we’re here to help’ which has been created with the help of Production Attic.
Watch the video here:
Matthew McVarish, a victim of childhood sexual abuse, who has used his experience to help young people who have been victims of childhood sexual abuse to better understand what rights they have, and campaign for better protections for survivors of sexual abuse, read an extract from his new book ‘The Truth That No One Tells Teenagers’
As part of Victims Awareness Week, we are calling on people who have been affected by crime to come forward and share their experiences of the criminal justice system. By doing so, they are helping to shape the future of victim support services in Scotland, as well as championing for better rights. Find out more about how you can tell us about your experience.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf spoke about how the voices and experiences of victims are key to developing a victim-centred approach and trauma-informed workforce across the criminal justice system in Scotland. He described encounters with victims who had found their experience of the justice system to be even more traumatic than the crime itself and called for it to become more compassionate.
On Victim Support Scotland’s work to put victim’s voices at the forefront, Mr Yousaf said:
"I’m proud of the partnership that the Scottish Government has with Victim Support Scotland, who provide support to people at such a terrible and traumatic time in their lives. I commend the bravery of victims who use their experience to challenge us and advocate for change."
We would like to thank all the MSPs and stakeholders who attended and engaged with our campaign across the evening. Each MSP in Scotland will be provided with information packs about VSS services in their constituencies so work can continue at a local level and encourage everyone to #kenyourcode
A huge thank you to everyone for all their hard work organising the reception and contributing to the positive atmosphere. Everyone at Victim Support Scotland would also like to thank the Events & Exhibitions Team at the Scottish Parliament for making sure everything ran smoothly on the night.