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Scottish prosecutors need to show more thought to DA victims, says inspectorate

Though tackling violence against women and girls is a strategic priority for Scotland’s Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the organisation fails to always keep domestic abuse survivors informed of developments in their case, the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland found after an in-depth review of the service.

“The justice system can seem complex and opaque to those not familiar with it. Communication with the victim is key,” said the inspectorate’s head, Laura Paton. “Poor communication risks victims becoming unsupportive of the prosecution and losing confidence in the justice system overall.”

The inspectorate praised pilot projects to improve engagement with victims, but said they need to be rolled out nationally and implemented more effectively.

The prosecution service (COPFS) accepted the inspectorate’s 27 recommendations. “COPFS has not always got it right in the way it communicates with victims,” said Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain. “Whilst there is much to do, there is a clear and ambitious pathway of work transforming how prosecutors respond to an epidemic of domestic abuse.”

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