A new SNP Government fund to help organisations across North Ayrshire and Scotland support victims of crime and their families using money paid by offenders, has opened for applications.
The Victim Surcharge Fund is imposed on all offenders who receive a court fine. Payments have been made into the fund since the regulations establishing the victim surcharge were passed on 25 November 2019. It currently stands at £87,020.
Victim support organisations that successfully apply, can use it to provide financial assistance to cover the costs of short-term and practical support such as new windows and locks for victims of house break-ins or funeral expenses for families of murder victims.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf MSP said:
“The aim is to make the first payments in March. The fund will then re-open on a regular basis for applications when sufficient money has accrued.
“It is absolutely right that offenders should contribute towards helping victims as they recover from their experience. The money raised through the surcharge will make a real difference to victims and families.
“While overall levels of offending and the number of victims have fallen significantly over the last decade, it can often be frightening and isolating for those who do experience crime. This fund will be an important addition to the support we already provide to those victims.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Incurring costs as a consequence of someone else’s crimes against them, is the last thing people need.
“Having offenders pay is a simple form of restorative justice so that this aspect of victims’ worries can be alleviated and I am certain organisations will make good use of it when supporting victims."
Information on applying can be found on the Scottish Government website.
Alongside reforms strengthening the rights of victims and vulnerable witnesses, the Scottish Government is providing around £60 million funding this year, across a range of projects, to support victims and survivors of crime.
This includes £18.7 million through the Justice budget to fund organisations such as Victim Support Scotland to provide practical and emotional support.