Official opening of new office suite for Victim Support Scotland, Abbey House, 10 Bothwell Street, Glasgow, G2 6LU, on Wednesday, February 19, 2014, at 11am. Pictures will be available via Angela Catlin (firstname.lastname@example.org) for media not attending
THE President of Victim SupportScotland, HRH The Princess Royal, will officially open the above offices tomorrow. All media are invited to attend.
The Princess will meet a victim of crime who will outline his experience and the support he was able to obtain, and hear details of the creation of a new Victims Fund to provide support to victims who have no other source of assistance available to them.
Kenny MacAskill, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, will also speak at the event.
He said: “The opening of this excellent new facility comes at an important time for improving support for victims and witnesses in Scotland, with the recent passage of the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014.
“This will improve the experience victims and witnesses have of our justice system by giving greater access to information and support, ensuring public agencies set clear standards and introducing a victims’ surcharge fund, paid for by offenders, to give immediate support and assistance to victims of crime.
“Victim Support Scotland, along with other victim support organisations, plays a pivotal role in helping victims of crime in Scotland.
“While laws and policy can do much to improve the experience of victims, we cannot legislate for the support and compassion offered by the staff and volunteers of VSS, who make a real difference to the lives of thousands of people every year.”
Victim Support Scotland will celebrate its 30th year in 2015.
A national charity, it provides free and confidential support to more than 170,000 victims and witnesses of crime a year, a figure which it believes will increase within two years to about 200,000 referrals a year.
This is an important time in terms of improving support for victims and witnesses, with the successful passage of the now Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014.
Implementation of the Act, which will improve the information and support available to victims and witnesses, will form part of the Making Justice Work programme, and will continue the Scottish Government’s work with criminal justice partners in exploring non-legislative measures to complement the provisions in the Act and improve the overall experience of victim and witnesses in the criminal justice system.
The Government has acknowledged the contribution that VSS made to the development of the Bill and is looking forward to continuing to working closely with VSS throughout implementation.
Facts and figures for increased public/ stakeholder awareness:
The Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 contains a variety of measures to help victims and witnesses.
For example, it will improve access to information about cases, create a duty on public agencies to set clear standards of service, widen access to special measures to help vulnerable witnesses give evidence, and introduce a victim surcharge.
It will also help ensure that the Scottish Government meets its obligations under the EU Victims’ Rights Directive.
The Bill process represented a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of victims issues in general as it progressed through the Parliamentary stages.
While the Act addresses matters which required primary legislation, the Government is keen to discuss and pursue other improvements to the justice system, in collaboration with justice partners and third sector organisations.
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