The Lord Advocate is required, along with the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS), the Scottish Prison Service and the Parole Board for Scotland, to publish standards of service for victims and witnesses each year and to publish an annual report in relation to the fulfilment of those standards of service.
COPFS will continue to fulfil the same standards of service in 2018-19:
The Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC said:
“I am committed to ensuring that COPFS continues to provide the highest level of service to victims and witnesses of crime. My staff have worked hard throughout the year to ensure that we fulfil the commitments made in our standards of service.
“In particular in 2017-18: we have been placing greater emphasis on the use of special measures which enable child and vulnerable witnesses to have their evidence recorded in advance of trial thus avoiding the need for witnesses to come to court; I have signed an agreement with Rape Crisis Scotland which creates a confidential pathway for victims of serious sexual offences to provide feedback about their experience of the justice system; we have revised our complaints handling procedure so that we can resolve difficulties more swiftly and effectively; and work continues to revise the letters that we send to witnesses to ensure that they are receiving clear and appropriate information about their case and justice process.
“However, I acknowledge that there is more work to be done and my staff and I will strive to deliver an even better service in 2018-19.”
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:
“The way in which victims and witnesses are treated should be a key indicator of the quality of our criminal justice system. I want to develop a new victim-centred approach, working with partners to streamline points of contact, improve information flow and ensure victims are treated fairly and feel supported throughout their contact with the system.
“This report demonstrates the commitment to promote the fundamental rights of victims and witnesses and to account publicly for performance. It highlights positive steps that are being taken by all justice partners to place victims and witnesses at the heart of the process and also identifies key areas where support could be further improved. We will continue to work hard with partners to deliver that improvement.”