Supporting Vulnerable Witnesses: Policy Priorities and Key Issues for Reform
This event will provide a timely opportunity for delegates to discuss the policy priorities for supporting vulnerable witnesses as the Scottish Parliament considers the Vulnerable Witnesses (Scotland) Bill.
Building a ‘victim-centred’ justice system
Introduced to the Scottish Parliament in June, the Vulnerable Witnesses (Scotland) Bill is part of a wider package of reforms aimed at supporting victims and witnesses in Scotland’s justice system.
Following on from a major review led by Lord Carloway, the Bill aims to enable more widespread use of pre-recorded evidence and develop a ‘victim-centred’ approach by streamlining points of contact and improving information available to witnesses.
Join Holyrood on 30 October as we discuss the potential impact of the reforms on Scotland’s justice system, and whether legislation goes far enough in protecting and supporting vulnerable witnesses.
Key issues to be addressed
- Up-to-date brief on the progress of the Vulnerable Witnesses (Scotland) Bill
- Examine innovative models of support for victims and vulnerable witnesses
- Consider the potential impact of reforms on the process and outcomes of trials
- Priorities for overcoming technical challenges surrounding pre-recorded evidence
Who will benefit from attending?
- Third sector and independent organisations working within the sector
- Child protection and social work practitioners
- Solicitors and advocates working in the sector
- Organisations working in the justice sector including court and police services
09:15 Registration and Morning Refreshments
10:00 Welcome from the Chair
Session 1: Developing a ‘Victim-centred’ Justice System
- Context on current policy and upcoming reforms
- Partnership working and improving the experience of victims and vulnerable witnesses
- Case studies of innovative models of support
Dr Kimberly Collins, Lecturer, Forensic Pyschology, Teeside University and Intermediary, Triangle Intermediary Services
Sandy Brindley, Chief Executive, Rape Crisis Scotland
Session 2: Assessing the Impact of Reforms on Trial Processes and Outcomes
- Analysing the potential of pre-recorded evidence
- Technical challenges surrounding pre-recorded evidence
- Investigate ‘ground rules hearings’ and the effect on witness cross-examination
Kay McCorquodale, Chief Development and Innovation Officer, Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service
Session 3: Roundtable and Feedback to Policymakers
- Meeting the needs of key stakeholder groups
- Next steps for Vulnerable Witnesses (Scotland) Bill
14:55 Chair’s Closing Remarks
15:00 Close of Event
*Agenda subject to change