News In Focus
Simplified victims' code published for learning disability users
An "easy read" version of the Victims’ Code for Scotland has been launched by the Scottish Government, to help victims with communications difficulties understand their rights and improve their experience of the justice system.
Ministers have also awarded £50,000 to the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists (RCSLT) to develop a speech, language and communication screening tool for use by appropriate adults, who help vulnerable individuals with communication difficulties during police procedures such as interviews, identification procedures and forensic examinations.
Welcoming the news, Kim Hartley Kean, head of RCSLT Scotland, commented: "It’s estimated at least a quarter of a million Scots have communication difficulties and evidence shows they are more likely than others to be victims, witnesses or accused or crime.
"We are delighted to take up this opportunity to contribute to creating a fairer, more equal and effective justice system for vulnerable people in Scotland. We will work with partners to develop a practical tool to help appropriate adults quickly establish an individual’s communication strengths so that the police have a clear understanding of what they need to do to help the individual understand and express themselves during an already challenging experience."
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "Anyone who has been a victim of crime should have confidence that they will receive the right support and advice through the criminal justice process, and the Victims’ Code aims to achieve this.
"We want the code to benefit as many people as possible and the new version has been tested by organisations that support individuals with communication difficulties to ensure it is accessible, helpful and easy to use."
Click here to access the new version of the code.