9 November 2022

The Scottish Conservatives’ Victims Law has attracted “overwhelming” support, according to analysis of responses to the proposals.

More than 80 per cent of the 146 full submissions received during the consultation period backed Shadow Justice Secretary, pictured right,  Jamie Greene’s bill, which seeks to put victims front and centre of Scotland’s justice system.

The vast majority (71%) were fully supportive, with a further 11% partially supportive of the plans to redress the imbalance in the justice system, which the party believes has become too skewed in favour of criminals rather than victims.

The proposed creation of Suzanne’s Law – which would prevent a killer being released unless they disclosed the location of their victim’s body – was fully supported by 85% of respondents.

Michelle’s Law – which includes the rights of victims to access release decisions and request exclusion zones around their home – was fully backed by around eight in 10 people.

Court of Session in Edinburgh and High Court at Glasgow.

Support for victims to be allowed to make a statement in court and plans to increase the uptake of the Victim Notification Scheme both stand above 80%, while 57% fully backed the scrapping of the not proven verdict.

All the responses received during the consultation period will be published in due course, with the final proposal being brought before parliament by Jamie Greene in the New Year.

Justice Secretary Jamie Greene MSP said: “I’m delighted – but not surprised – by the overwhelming support for my Victims Law.

“These measures are a fair and common-sense response to a justice system that currently fails to take adequate account of the interests of crime victims.

“For too long under the SNP’s soft-touch justice system, the interests of criminals have trumped those of victims.

“That’s wrong – and this proposal will redress that unfair imbalance to ensure that victims are put at the heart of the system, where they belong.

“I would urge MSPs from all parties to throw their weight behind it when I bring the final proposal before the Scottish Parliament in the New Year.”

More than 80% of the public were supportive of Jamie Greene’s Victims Law. In Jamie Greene’s consultation 71% of the public were fully supportive of the Bill and a further 11% were partially supportive of the Bill taking the grand total of support to 82% of the public out of 146 full responses.

Most people were fully supportive of scrapping the not proven verdict from Scotland’s justice system. 57% of 141 respondents answering fully supportive of removal of not proven verdict.

Nearly 8 in 10 people are fully supportive of Michelle’s Law. 78% of those answering fully supportive of victims being allowed to make representations in person to parole boards, 80% were fully supportive of a victim having a right to request an exclusion zone, 81% were fully supportive of victims being given access to parole board or prisoner governor release decisions and 84% were fully supportive of requiring that the safety and welfare of families were considered in parole board decisions.

The overwhelming majority of people support Suzanne’s Law. 85% of respondents were fully supportive of a killer being denied release on the grounds they have failed to disclose the location of their victim’s body.

Around 5 in 6 people supported allowing all victims to make a statement to court. 83% of respondents were fully supportive of all victims being able to make a victim statement to court.

Over 8 in 10 people were supportive of increasing the uptake of the Victim Notification Scheme82% of respondents were fully supportive of the proposal to increase uptake of the Victim Notification Scheme.

More than two thirds of people were in favour of reforming the law around Fatal Accident Inquiries. 71% of respondents were fully supportive of setting maximum timescales for the completion of Fatal Accident Inquiries and 66% were supportive of expanding the circumstances in which a mandatory Fatal Accident Inquiry takes place.

(NB: The final percentages may be subject to minor changes in the summary of responses document when it is published.)

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