Making the case for a Victims’ Commissioner for Scotland

All too often we support people affected by crime who are left feeling invisible in the criminal justice system. In recognition of this, there is strong support for establishing the role of a Victims’ Commissioner from victims, witnesses and their families, from across the political spectrum, and from Victim Support Scotland. A Victims’ Commissioner for Scotland will allow the voices, experiences, and views of those affected by crime to be heard and to influence decision making that impacts on the justice system.

Much like the Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland the primary function of the role must be to protect and promote the rights of people affected by crime, using lived experience to transform Scotland’s justice system and scrutinise its agencies.

VSS recommends that a similar appointment process for a Victims’ Commissioner for Scotland be used to that of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner role whereby the Commissioner is appointed by the Scottish Parliament, approved by Royal Assent, and funded each year via the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB). This would ensure independence from the Scottish Government and criminal justice bodies.

Our report presents a strong case why people affected by crime urgently require the introduction of a Victim’s Commissioner to advocate for their rights, provide oversight of criminal justice agencies and uphold their rights under the Victims’ Code for Scotland.