Right to support
You have the right to support after a crime and when engaging with the criminal justice system. Vulnerable witnesses and people affected by certain crimes can receive special measures too. Contact Victim Support Scotland if we can help.
Access to support services
You have the right to use victim support services even if the crime has not been reported to the police.
Victim Support Scotland provides emotional support, practical help and essential information to victims, witnesses and others affected by crime. The services provided by Victim Support Scotland are free and confidential.
There are a number of other organisations, including specialist services, that are able to provide free and confidential emotional support, practical help and essential information to victims, witnesses and others affected by crime.
Support for vulnerable individuals in court – special measures
Some individuals may be particularly vulnerable or at risk because of their circumstances or the nature of the evidence they may be asked to give to the court. There are different options available to help a vulnerable witness give their evidence in court, such as through live TV links or from behind a screen so that you cannot see the accused person. These are called “special measures”.
Further information about special measures can be provided by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service. The relevant authorities should also ask you whether you would have any concerns about giving evidence and can help you with options in giving evidence.
All children (aged under 18 years) are, by law, classed as vulnerable and, alongside alleged victims of domestic abuse, sexual crimes, human trafficking and stalking, are automatically entitled to the use of certain standard special measures.
A witness who has a mental disorder, learning disability or is suffering fear and distress at the prospect of giving evidence might also be considered vulnerable. An assessment to establish vulnerability will be carried out by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service will also ensure that victims have separate waiting areas from defence witnesses when waiting to give evidence in court.