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New measures to support victims and witnesses 07/09/2015 New measures from the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 are in now force.

New measures to support victims and witnesses

New measures to support victims and witnesses are now in force, following the implementation of additional provisions of the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014.

They include the extension of the automatic eligibility for certain support measures, like giving evidence via video link, to all those aged under 18 and alleged victims of sexual offences, domestic abuse, human trafficking and stalking.

A new category of vulnerability has also been created, for people likely to suffer significant risk of harm as a result of giving evidence.

Other new measures include the option of making a closed court available as a special measure for vulnerable witnesses. The age at which press reporting restrictions apply for any child concerned in criminal proceedings, whether as a victim, witness or accused, has also increased from under 16 to under 18.

The Government intends to extend the availability of special measures to Justice of the Peace courts later this year, subject to Parliamentary approval, ensuring such measures are available throughout the court system.

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