Europe has a crucial opportunity to put the treatment of victims at the heart of the judicial process throughout all member states, David McKenna, Chief Executive of Victim Support Scotland, told delegates to an international conference in Edinburgh today (October 6).
Speaking to a packed auditorium on the second day of the conference, Mr McKenna, in his role as President of Victim Support Europe, told delegates that VSS Europe's vision was to establish an EU-wide system where victims “are made whole again” adding that there was a key chance to do that by engaging with governments on behalf of all victims of crime, whether reported or not.
Highlighting the importance of the conference, he said it was a starting point for the international community to change the position of victims who do not report and ensure that all have access to support and services, whether they report or not. It was vital to take action on this issue that went to the heart of the functioning of a fair and successful criminal justice system.
He told his audience: “We must provide a service to all, whether they report a crime or not. We say no more victims — let's start here in Edinburgh.”
The plenary session also heard speeches from Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission, who pledged the Commission's determination to establish a structure to ensure victims' rights across the whole of the EU, and from Kathryn Stone, OBE, Chief Executive of Voice UK, on the particular problems for vulnerable victims in making their voices heard in the criminal justice system.
Entitled “To Report or nor Report – The Choice Facing Victims” the event is being staged in the John McIntyre Centre of Edinburgh University at 18 Holyrood Park Road, Edinburgh EH16 5AY. It is the first international conference to be organised by Victim Support Scotland, a national charity celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
Victim Support Scotland, now celebrating its 25th year, is a registered charity which provides help to all victims and witnesses of crime. Last year VSS dealt with almost 100,000 Victim referrals, 70,000 Witness referrals and about 1,000 referrals to VOYCE, its youth justice service in Dundee. The charity has a presence in all of Scotland’s local authority regions and has staff and/or volunteers in every Sheriff and High Court in Scotland.
For any assistance or further information contact:
Head of Communications,
Victim Support Scotland.
24-hour media line: 07803 970320