Victims of sex offences to be given greater protection

Alleged victims of sexual offences will be given greater
protection in future if proposed legislation is passed by the
Scottish parliament.

The Sexual Offences (Procedures and Evidence) (Scotland) Bill
proposes that defendants are prevented from cross-examining their
alleged victims. This is the most contentious aspect of the bill,
which was brought forward after several high profile cases.

This proposal has been challenged on the grounds of contravening
the European Convention of Human Rights to which all of
Scotland’s legislation must adhere. Introducing the bill,
deputy justice minister Iain Gray said: “The single most important
aim of the bill is to reduce the ‘fear factor’ that
alienates victims of sexual crimes from our criminal justice

The bill will require that any defence of compliance must be
notified before the trial. Also, references within court to the
alleged victim’s character and previous sexual behaviour will
be limited. Victim Support Scotland is to receive additional
funding to roll out volunteer witness support schemes across

The bill received unanimous cross-party support at its stage 1

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.