A new and innovative free service for families bereaved by crime in Scotland has been officially launched today by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf MSP.
Support for Families Bereaved by Crime is a specialist service, delivered by Victim Support Scotland designed to support families bereaved through murder or culpable homicide.
Families accessing the service will have a dedicated support worker to provide assistance with immediate practical tasks such as going to court, accessing specialist services including counselling, arranging funerals and handling the media and finances.
Victim Support Scotland was awarded £1.2 million over three years by the SNP Government specifically to establish this new service, born out of a need to tackle the gap in provision highlighted in a 2017 Moira Fund report. The Fund was founded by Bea Jones, whose daughter, Moira, was murdered in Queens Park in Glasgow in 2008.
The new service is part of a growing move across Scotland to take on a ‘victim-centred’ approach, working with partners to streamline points of contact, improve information flow and ensure victims of crime feel supported through the criminal justice system. An important factor is reducing the need for victims to retell their story to several different organisations as they seek help.
The service is completely free and family members can access it via a Police Scotland Family Liaison Officer and other support partners. Although the service is currently only available to immediate family, wider family members and friends can still access Victim Support Scotland’s other support services by self-referral.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf MSP commented:
“We want to ensure that victims’ interests are at the heart of our criminal justice system and that it is fair, accessible and efficient for all.
“We listened when victims’ families told us that they faced difficulties in accessing the support available to them and that is why we have provided £1.2 million funding to Victim Support Scotland to deliver this free and confidential new service. This will ensure that all families affected by homicide have a dedicated case worker to provide support and information at every stage of the criminal justice process, helping to reduce distress and the potential for re-traumatisation.”
Bea Jones added:
“It has been a privilege for The Moira Fund to work alongside Victim Support Scotland to establish this service and ensure that every aspect of necessary support has been covered.”
Kenneth Gibson commented:
“Strong links are now in place to ensure a stream-lined system of support is available to desperate families who will benefit from feeling cared for at the very worst time of their lives.”
The Victim Support Scotland general helpline can be reached on 0800 160 1985 on weekdays from 8am – 8pm, to help with practical support and advice for anyone impacted by crime.
For further details, please visit victimsupport.scot/bereaved-by-crime .