Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has welcomed the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Victims’ Rights Bill.

Encouraging as many victims, witnesses and their families as possible to submit a response to the consultation, the Falkirk West MSP said:

“The justice system must protect the victim as well as punish the offender.

This consultation contains a range of really positive proposals from the Scottish Government to give better support to victims and witnesses – something we all want to see.

From ensuring they are better-informed about court procedure and the case in which they are involved, to making them feel more confident in giving their evidence, our justice system always has to put victims and witnesses first.

As many people as possible – victims, witnesses and their families – should respond to this consultation. We as a society can learn from their experiences, and with this consultation they have the chance to tell the Government what they think.

The Scottish Government has already improved the way vulnerable witnesses and victims are treated by the courts, supporting the work of Victim Support Scotland and allowing the courts to award higher compensation payments.

But this bill will go even further and ensure that we help and protect those affected by crime – fully breaking down barriers between victims and the legal system.”