Victims Awareness Week 2020
Victims Awareness Week takes place between 17 – 23 February, coinciding with European Day for Victims of Crime on Saturday 22 February.
It is Victim Support Scotland’s annual national awareness week which provides the opportunity to promote messages in support of those affected by crime by championing their voices, experiences and rights.
The campaign can be epitomised by Jamie* who Victim Support Scotland supported following a serious sexual assault. As a transgender person, Jamie was asked questions that had no relevance to the crime he was reporting. He says:
“Sharing your experience, should help make positive change. When it comes to my own experience of the criminal justice system, I didn’t feel I had a voice.
“I’ve spent more time talking about my experience for the sake of people affected by crimes similar to my own, bypassing the fact that the system was part of what made my experience not okay.
“I would urge anyone with an experience of crime to share this experience, as it will help create a better justice system for Scotland.”
Our campaign, entitled ‘Your Rights, Your Code’ aims to remind people like Jamie that they have rights which include having a say in the criminal justice service and how they are treated.
Find out about your rights
Everyone is entitled to the same rights as a victim or witness under Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 as set out in the Victims’ Code for Scotland. These rights include feeling supported and informed at every stage of the process when engaging with the criminal justice system.
Most people affected by crime are unaware of many of their rights when engaging with the criminal justice system. Agencies and services need to do much more to inform people of their rights to ensure that both information and processes are clear and accessible.
It’s important for victims and witnesses to understand and exercise their rights to ensure they receive the service and information they are entitled to from the criminal justice system.
Share your experience of the criminal justice system
We are aware that many people affected by crime are unaware of their rights or how these rights impact them and the service they receive from difference justice agencies.
Not only are we are encouraging people to learn about their rights, but we’re calling on people affected by crime to share their experiences to improve the criminal justice system and victim support services.
There are many different ways people affected by crime can share their experiences with Victim Support Scotland: anonymously, individually, or in groups. Victim Support Scotland welcomes any involvement, from sharing experiences of crime or providing feedback on support services, to helping develop new services.
Get involved! Share your experience, give us feedback or join our victim and witness consultation group.
*Please note that Jamie’s name has been changed to protect his identity.
Victims Awareness Week blogs
Supporting victims rights in court with COPFS
The truth that no one tells teenagers
How Police Scotland delivers the Victims’ Code for Scotland for people affected by crime
Child victims and children’s rights
Your Rights, Your Code – tell us your experiences
Victims must know their rights for them to be meaningful