The Scottish government has announced almost £250,000 funding for a trauma specialist to lead work across the justice system.
NHS Education for Scotland has been allocated the funding for the new role which will be take on by Dr Caroline Bruce who will work directly with the Victims Taskforce, which was established in November 2018 to improve support, advice and information for victims of crime.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “While crime and the number of people who have been victims of it has fallen over the last decade, I remain focused on addressing the needs of those who do fall victim to criminals. They should be at the heart of Scotland’s justice system and the Victims Taskforce has continued to take forward this important work through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For victims of crime, the impact of their experiences can be long lasting and traumatic. Taken together with the impacts of the pandemic, it is even more important than ever that we have a workforce that is trained to deal with trauma in an empathetic way and help empower victims to access justice. So I am pleased we are able to provide more funding for this important area of work and research,” he added.
The role is part of the Scottish government’s wider ambition for a trauma informed workforce and services across Scotland, supported by an investment of over £1.5 million in a National Trauma Training Programme. The programme aims to support the workforce to deliver services in ways that prevent further harm or re-traumatisation for those who have experienced psychological trauma or adversity at any stage in their lives and support their unique recovery journey.
Dr Caroline Bruce’s role will be to ensure victims are treated in a more compassionate way and to get a better understanding of the impact crime can have on victims.
The Scottish government has also provided £185,000 of funding which has been awarded to four research projects to better understand how Scotland's criminal and civil justice systems can respond to the needs of all victims and witnesses.
These projects follow the publication of the Measuring Justice report which will help inform the work of the Victims Taskforce and how best to engage with victims and survivors with lived experience of the justice system.
The four new research projects are:
Children’s reconceptualisation of ‘Justice’: Experiences, Expectations, and Aspirations
The Use of Sexual History Evidence and ‘Private Data’ in Scottish Sexual Offences Trials
Diversifying Justice: Revealing viable pathways for South Asian women
The Lived Experiences of Victims of Coercive Control, Stalking and Related Crimes, as they progress through the Criminal Justice System: Is it a case of ‘from the frying pan into the fire’ or is current practice, best practice?