Lord Advocate addresses victims' groups

The Lord Advocate renewed his commitment to put victims’ voices at the heart of the criminal justice system as he addressed an event marking European Day for Victims of Crime.

Speaking at a Victim-Centred Approach Seminar, organised by the Scottish Government, James Wolffe QC outlined a number of measures the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has put in place to ensure its work is informed by the views and experiences of victims.

This includes challenging the assumption, which until recently was ingrained in the criminal justice system, that all evidence needs to be given in open court at trial.

The Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC said:

“The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is committed to improving the experiences of victims within the criminal justice system.

“We know uncertainties around the court process, including the need to attend court with the potential to encounter the accused, can cause difficulty for vulnerable witnesses.

“New legislation allows for the use of special measures such as evidence on commission, where a witness gives their evidence at a hearing in advance of the trial, or the use of a prior statement as the witness’ evidence in chief.

“We will continue to seek and act on feedback from victims and witnesses to ensure the service we provide is truly victim-focused.”