New financial penalty to be imposed on criminals to fund victim support
Offenders will be required to contribute to the cost of supporting victims of crime from November.
A new financial penalty will be imposed on all criminals who are sentenced to pay a court fine and the money raised will be banked in the Victim Surcharge Fund.
Victim support organisations will be able to apply to the fund to cover the costs of providing short-term and practical support such as new windows and locks for burglary victims or funeral expenses for families of murder victims.
Regulations laid in Parliament today, subject to MSPs’ approval, will apply to crimes committed on or after 25 November 2019 and payments from the fund will start to be made six to 12 months later.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Experiencing crime can be an isolating and frightening experience and we are committed to improving the experiences of victims in our justice system. It’s only right that criminals should pay towards helping victims to recover and move on with their lives. The money raised through the surcharge will pay for practical support that will make a real difference to victims and their families.
“While Scotland’s long-term fall in crime means fewer people fall prey to criminals, we are continuing to invest £18 million annually to improve support, advice and information for victims. This new fund will be a valuable addition to support available and we have worked with the UK government to ensure the necessary legislative arrangements are in place to allow its operation.
“Over the coming year we will also be carrying out further work to better understand where the gaps are in how Scotland supports victims and witnesses.”