Video seeks to make justice system less daunting for rape survivors

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Rape Crisis Scotland produced the guide after victims told them the legal process was complex and disorientating.

10th July 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A new video seeks to make Scotland’s criminal justice system less daunting for victims of sexual violence.

The video, produced by Rape Crisis Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government, guides survivors through each stage of the legal process in a clear and accessible manner.

It also features interviews with key people that survivors will come into contact with, including a specially trained police officer, a rape crisis advocacy worker, a procurator fiscal, a defence lawyer, an advocate for the prosecution and a judge.

Rape Crisis Scotland said it produced the video after survivors who had gone through the court system told them the process felt complex and disorientating.

To mark the video’s launch, co-chairs of the Victims Taskforce justice secretary Humza Yousaf and the Lord Advocate met a group of survivors advocating for change.

They heard first-hand accounts of why survivors, with a range of experiences of accessing justice, felt let down by the criminal justice system and the improvements that could make it better for anyone who needs to go through the court process in the future.

Facilitated by Rape Crisis Scotland, the Survivor Reference Group is made up of survivors from across Scotland who have had some degree of engagement with the justice system. The group have worked to identify common issues that survivors experience in pursuing justice and make recommendations for improvement.

Sandy Brindley, Rape Crisis Scotland’s chief executive, said: “There’s no silver bullet when it comes to addressing the issues survivors experience within the Criminal Justice System, and even though there has been significant effort and improvements in recent years, we should be in no doubt that there is much more to do.

“Rape Crisis have always and will always support survivors whether they choose to report or not, but we believe that knowledge is power and are glad to be relaunching this video and demystifying the justice process.

“We’re pleased that the cabinet secretary and Lord Advocate have set aside the time to meet directly with from those who have experience of seeking justice, and we hope their voices are heard.”

Yousaf said: “Listening to the views of survivors of rape and sexual assault is vital as we work to put victims’ rights at the centre of the justice system. I am grateful to the members of the Survivor Reference Group who are prepared to speak out where the system is not delivering for their needs.

“We know the criminal justice process can be daunting and I am determined that we continue to make improvements to ensure it is trauma-informed at every stage. Only those who have been through this process can tell us what it really feels like and what matters to them.

“I hope that the new video resource will help survivors navigate the system and increase access to justice for victims of these appalling crimes.”

The video can be viewed in full here.