FOI reference: FOI/17/01902
Date received: 31 July 2017
Date responded: 28 August 2017
Relevant information on Scotland's policy of referrals to victim support services for victims of crime. In Northern Ireland's Victim Charter, and the Victims Code for England & Wales, a policy of automatic referral is used. What is the policy in Scotland?
In answer to your FOI enquiry, I refer you to section 3D of the Victims & Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014, as inserted by The Victims' Rights (Scotland) Regulations 2015 which states the following:
(1) The chief constable of the Police Service of Scotland must ensure that, as soon as reasonably practicable after a constable identifies a person who is or appears to be a victim in relation to an offence or alleged offence, a constable informs the person that—
(a) the person may request a referral to providers of victim support services from any competent authority, and
(b) the person may contact providers of victim support services directly without referral.
(2) Where a person who is or appears to be a victim in relation to an offence or alleged offence makes a request of a competent authority to be referred to providers of victim support services, the authority must, subject to the views of the person—
(a) disclose the person's details to such providers of victim support services as the authority considers appropriate to the person's needs, or
(b) provide the person with the name, address and telephone number of the providers of victim support services referred to in paragraph (a).
In practice, Police Scotland will explain to the person who is, or appears to be, the victim of crime that they will seek their consent on whether they'd like to be referred to Victim Support Scotland (VSS). If the person provides their consent, Police Scotland will automatically refer the person to VSS.
Police Scotland will also explain to the person that even if the they do not want victim support to begin with, they can contact VSS directly at any time, and that further information can be obtained from Police Scotland or any of the other Criminal Justice Agencies i.e. the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service, the Scottish Prison Service and the Parole Board for Scotland.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House