VICTIMS of crime are being urged to play their part in shaping how support services are provided to those who find themselves in a similar situation.

The plea has been issued by Victim Support Scotland, which is raising awareness of victims’ rights and encouraging them to speak up about their experiences.

As part of Victims Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday, the charity is keen to engage with local residents who have suffered as a result of a crime, as well as those who have had experience of the criminal justice system as a witness.

Although people have certain rights under the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014, there are concerns that many of those affected by crime are unaware of these.

Kate Wallace, CEO of Victim Support Scotland, said: “We want all victims and witnesses to know about their rights as soon as they have experienced a crime.

“Agencies and services must do more to communicate with victims and witnesses to ensure they are fully informed of their rights and receive timely information in a way they can understand.

“We can all only improve if we encourage people to share their experiences of crime, the criminal justice system and the support services they have used. This opens up the chance for this experience to be heard by decision-makers, allowing positive change to take place that puts victims and their families first.”

Victim Support Scotland has submitted a motion at Holyrood to raise awareness of victims’ rights – a move welcomed by Scotland’s Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf.

“We recognise that having to engage with the criminal justice system can be a challenging and traumatic experience for victims and witnesses,” said Mr Yousaf.

To have your say on the criminal justice system and the support services on offer, fill in a form online at or call 0131 668 4486.