Consultation launched on anonymity for child homicide victims

Consultation launched on anonymity for child homicide victims

Angela Constance

A consultation is seeking views on reducing trauma for bereaved families of child homicide victims caused by the publicity arising from such cases.

Justice Secretary Angela Constance published the consultation after hearing from bereaved families about the impact of ongoing news and social media coverage about their loved ones.

The consultation seeks views on a range of potential options, including whether the law should be changed to grant anonymity to child homicide victims. This would prevent the deceased children – and therefore their families – from being publicly identified.

Responses to the consultation, along with engagement with families, victims’ organisations, media representatives and justice partners, will inform next steps.

Ms Constance said: “It is hard to imagine a more profound agony than that of losing a child. When that child is a victim of homicide, the heartbreak can be compounded by associated public and media attention. While such cases are rare, I have heard first-hand from families about just how devastating that sustained scrutiny can be.

“This consultation seeks views on how we can protect bereaved families from this additional trauma, while respecting the important principles of open justice and freedom of expression.

“We know from the views gathered so far, and from research into anonymity in other jurisdictions, that these are highly complex issues. This consultation provides an opportunity for a wide range of views on this sensitive and emotive matter.”

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