A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and Rape Crisis Scotland (RCS).
Under the new agreement RCS will share anonymous feedback on victims’ experiences of the criminal justice system and their views on the service provided by COPFS.
This information, only provided with the victim’s consent, will be used to identify ways COPFS can improve the service provided to victims of sexual crime.
The feedback will cover, among other things, the way the process was explained, how information was shared and where relevant the person’s experience in court. Victims will also be asked if anything could have been done better by COPFS.
Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC and Sandy Brindley from Rape Crisis Scotland signed the memorandum of understanding today at Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre.
The Lord Advocate said: “This Memorandum of Understanding reflects the service’s commitment to victims. The service already works closely with Rape Crisis Scotland and this Memorandum of Understanding strengthens that relationship. The feedback process which we have agreed will provide a mechanism to ensure that the voice of the victim is heard, and will help to shape the work of the service in relation to victims.
“We cannot bring the perpetrators of sexual crime to justice unless victims come forward and speak up. That is why we value the work of Rape Crisis Scotland and other organisations which provide support to victims. That is why we have revised our own Victim Strategy and want to continue to improve the service which we provide. These arrangements for obtaining feedback from victims on a more systematic basis will help us to do that.”
Sandy Brindley added: ”We are delighted to work with the Crown Office to develop a systemic approach to obtaining feedback from complainers. This is a very positive development, which will ensure that the experience and views of sexual offence complainers are fed directly into the prosecution process.”
Feedback will be sought both in cases where the case has reached a conclusion – regardless of whether there is conviction or acquittal – and when a victim has been advised that there will be no prosecution.
All information will be anonymous and treated as confidential.
Any information which does not relate to COPFS, but does relate to another agency or organisation, will be passed on to the relevant body where appropriate, with the written consent of both COPFS and RCS.