McDonald welcomes bill to protect victims

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North East MSP Mark McDonald has welcomed the announcement of the proposed Victims and Witnesses Bill which will aim to ensure criminals are made to contribute to the cost of providing support to victims.

The Bill proposes a victim surcharge, where offenders will contribute towards providing support to victims, as well as plans for police restitution orders, which will make those who assault police officers pay towards services providing support to injured officers. Victims and witnesses will be given a right to access information about their cases and victims of sexual assault will be given the right to choose the gender of their interviewer.

Commenting Mr McDonald said: “It is important that the justice system not only punishes the offender, but provides support to the victim and I am pleased that this proposal includes measures to ensure that victims are given greater support.

“During my time as a member of the Public Petitions Committee, I received a petition from Peter Morris, calling for greater support for the families of victims. Mr Morris has been a vocal campaigner for more measures to support the victims of crime, as a result of his own experiences during the trial of the man eventually convicted of murdering Mr. Morris’ sister. Campaigns such as Mr. Morris’ campaign have thrown a spotlight on the support received by victims of crime, and I am delighted that the Government has taken into account the issues raised during the consultation.”