Vulnerable Dumfries and Galloway witness to be given chance to pre-record evidence away from courtroom

Vulnerable Dumfries and Galloway witness to be given chance to pre-record evidence away from courtroom
Vulnerable Dumfries and Galloway witness to be given chance to pre-record evidence away from courtroom

Vulnerable witnesses involved in criminal trials will soon be able to pre-record evidence away from the courtroom.

The Scottish Government is investing £2 million in two new evidence by commissioner (EBC) suites, one of which will cover the South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway Sheriffdom.

The facility will allow children and vulnerable adult witnesses to provide evidence in a safe, managed, trauma-informed space, reducing stress and the risk of re-traumatization.

Justice Secretary, Angela Constance, said: “This significant investment in our court estate means that children and those who have been victims of some of the most traumatic crimes are supported to give their best evidence as early as possible in the process, and in advance of trials.

“Vulnerable witnesses across the country will have access to specialist, modern and purpose-built suites to pre-record their evidence, helping to reduce the risk of re-traumatization. This, and other support available, will help victims and witnesses to start on the path to recovery at the earliest possible stage.

“Putting victims and witnesses at the heart of the justice system is part of our Vision for Justice. The EBC suites, along with landmark reforms proposed in the Victims, Witnesses and Justice Reform Bill, which parliament is considering at stage one this week, will build a trauma-informed justice system that victims and witnesses can have confidence in.”

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service’s (SCTS) head of implementation, Danielle McLaughlin, added: “An essential part in minimizing trauma when giving evidence is by securing and using the best environment available. SCTS is committed to the further development and expansion of trauma informed evidence by commission facilities across a wider geographical reach.

“We welcome this additional £2 million funding which will help us to take the next initial steps to create additional commission facilities ensuring that we have at least one commission facility within the geographical reach of each sheriffdom.”

 
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