Right to participation

The Right to Participation means that you have the ability to understand and take part in the justice system processes for your case.

This includes having a translator or interpreter if you need one, having the option to explain how a crime has affected you and, in some cases, contributing your views on the release of an offender.

Right to understand and be understood

You have the right to understand what is happening and be understood.

Where appropriate, you can be supported by a person of your choice, while the police obtain your statement. Everything should be explained to you in simple language.

Right to interpretation and translation

If you have difficulty understanding or speaking English, you can request an interpreter to help you:

• Understand any questions you are being asked
• Understand any information you are being given
• Give answers and provide information
• Otherwise communicate effectively.

You may also request translation of a document if it is provided to you by law, or if it is essential to your participation in the investigation or proceedings.

Specifying the gender of the interviewing officer

If you are a victim of a sexual offence, domestic abuse, human trafficking or stalking, you have the right to request that the police interviewing officer is of a specific gender.

Police Scotland will comply with your request wherever possible; however, there may be occasions when this will not be possible. If that is the case, the reason why your request is not being met must be explained to you.

Victim statements

For some more serious crimes you have the right to provide a victim statement to the court.

Your victim statement will normally be given to the court if the accused either pleads guilty, or is found guilty of the relevant offence after a trial but before a sentence is passed.

A victim statement is a written statement that gives you the chance to tell the court, in your own words, how the crime has affected you physically, emotionally or financially. A victim statement is different from any statement you may have already given separately to the police, Procurator Fiscal or defence agent.

If you are eligible to provide a victim statement you will be contacted by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

Giving views on release decisions – Victim Notification Scheme

Through the Victim Notification Scheme you can provide views to the Scottish Prison Service, the Parole Board for Scotland or Scottish Ministers when the offender is being considered for temporary release, release on licence or on Home Detention Curfew.

You have the right to make oral and written representations to the Parole Board where the convicted person is serving a sentence of life imprisonment and becomes eligible for release on licence.

All other representations through the Victim Notification Scheme to the Parole Board for Scotland, the Scottish Prison Service or Scottish Ministers must be in written form.

Victims Awareness Week

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