MATHESON ANNOUNCES FUNDING TO IMPROVE SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME

Victims of crime in Falkirk district are to benefit from improved practical and emotional support when dealing with the criminal justice system.

Victim Support Scotland, which has been awarded £13.8million over three years by the Scottish Government, will lead the development of a new victim-centred approach to ensure that people affected by crime feel supported.

The charity, which has trained volunteers and staff providing free and confidential services throughout the country, will work with partners to streamline points of contact. This will reduce the need for victims to have to retell their story to several organisations as they seek help.

Part of the funding will be used to create a new Homicide Service, which will give families of murder victims access to a dedicated case worker and continuous support.

Falkirk West MSP and Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “I am aware that crime victims and their families often have to turn to multiple organisations to get information about the criminal justice process and find out what support they are entitled to receive. This can feel like they are being passed from one organisation to another, adding to their trauma when they are at their most vulnerable.

“I want to improve the situation and that is why I have announced funding for Victim Support Scotland to work in partnership with criminal justice and victim support bodies to develop a new approach. Along with the Homicide Service, it will ease the journey for victims and their families.”

Victim Support Scotland’s chief executive Kate Wallace added: “The creation of the Homicide Service and the victim-centred approach are very positive new developments and we will be working closely with all our partners to make these a reality.”

Victim Support Scotland has an office in Stirling covering the Forth Valley area. Call their helpline on 0345 603 9213 or visit www.victimsupportsco.org.uk to find out more.