On Tuesday 30th April 2019 the Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses 2019-2020 was published along with the Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses Annual Report 2018-2019 both of which can be can be viewed on our Standards of Service for Victims and Witnesses page.
The Standards of Service provides a structure for the Scottish criminal justice partners to embed and reinforce standards to improve the experience of victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system in line with the principles of the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014.
This is the fourth year in which Police Scotland has worked in close partnership with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service, the Scottish Prison Service and the Parole Board for Scotland to outline how we are performing against the standards and makes clear what victims and witnesses should expect from the Scottish criminal justice system over the coming year. The development and publication of the Standards of Service is based on informed feedback and makes clear our achievements and challenges.
Chief Superintendent John McKenzie of Police Scotland’s Safer Communities said:
“The level of service we provide to victims and witnesses from first point of contact through to resolution is important to us all and is paramount to our service delivery. It is crucial we get it right from the beginning.
Victims and witnesses should feel confident to come forward and report crimes and be clear on what to expect from Police Scotland when they do so.
We recognise victims and witnesses are individuals who must be treated as such. Their needs, expectations and overall experience of the criminal justice system can be influenced, positively or negatively, by their initial contact with the police.
Our officers and staff, with support from their line management, continue to work hard to ensure we meet the commitments within the standards of service and we aim to consistently deliver a high level of service to victims and witnesses of crime.
We will focus on staff behaviour, attitudes and leadership to improve our performance where required as highlighted in this year’s Annual Report.” Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf said in support of this publication:
“We recognise that having to engage with the criminal justice system can be a challenging and traumatic experience for victims and witnesses. We want to ensure that a victim-centred approach, developed and backed by partners, can improve the way we communicate, support and treat victims throughout their contact with the system.
To this end, last year we launched the Victims Taskforce, bringing together senior decision-makers from justice agencies and the voluntary sector, including those who directly represent victims. The Taskforce is working to make sure the voices of victims are heard, and that their experiences with the justice system improve.
I welcome today’s Service Standards Report which is a reflection of the commitment across justice agencies to ensuring the way victims and witnesses are treated is at the core of our approach, and the Scottish Government will continue to work closely with the sector to deliver progress.”
The publication of these shared documents demonstrates our collective commitment to work together for victims and witnesses.