Section 1 of the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 places a duty on each of the following agencies to have regard to four general principles
whilst carrying out any functions they have in relation to victims and witnesses:
- Police Scotland
- Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
- Scottish Court Service
- Scottish Prison Service
- Parole Board for Scotland
The general principles focus on providing access to information and support, ensuring safety and facilitating effective participation in the justice system.
Standards of Service
- The above agencies must all set and publish standards in relation to the functions they provide for victims and witnesses who are going through criminal justice processes. As well as this, they must also publish standards in relation to the procedure for making and resolving complaints about the way each organisation has carried out their functions.
- The standards are intended to inform victims and witnesses as to what to expect in their interaction with these organisations and will contain information specific to the functions of each organisation.
- Each agency must publish an annual report on how they have met the standards they have set, how they intend to meet the standards for the next year, any changes they have made or intend to make to the standards. The first report must be published within 12 months of the standards being published, but can be published earlier if the organisation wants to tie this in with their annual report.
- Before publishing the standards, the organisations must consult with each other and others with a significant interest (e.g. VSS and other victim agencies).