Most criminal cases and appeals are held in public courtrooms. This means that you can attend, although you don’t have to unless you are called as a witness (see below). The information in this section can help you decide if you want to go or not, and help prepare you if you do decide to go.

The Procurator Fiscal or a Victim Information and Advice (VIA) officer should tell you the date and location of any court hearing in writing. If you don’t hear anything and you want to know if a court hearing is happening soon, talk to your police or VIA contact.

If you decide to attend a court hearing, it may help to have support.

Your police contact may be able to come with you. You can also bring friends and family. The court will try to find places for everyone to sit, although the number of seats available may be limited.

For more information about who can help you prepare for a court visit and support you in court, see below. If you are not sure who is going to help you, or what will happen, talk to your police or VIA contact.

Children under 14 are not allowed in court unless they have been called as a witness.

You have the right to request certain information about the progress of your case. This is written into a COPFS document called ‘Access to Information Protocol’. You can read this document at

During the Covid pandemic public access to courtrooms was restricted. Some court rooms have introduced ‘dial in’ access when physical attendance has not been possible. Access to court rooms may continue to be restricted. Your VIA contact will be able to give you more information.

Seeing the accused or their friends around the courthouse

In court, the person being prosecuted is called ‘the accused’. Occasionally they are called ‘the panel’.

If you were not in the crash, court may be the first place that you see an accused person or their friends. If the accused is on bail, they will be able to use the public areas of the court.

You may want to avoid being in the same space as the accused. Some courts provide a quiet room for victims to sit and wait for the hearing. You can ask court staff or the Witness Service if this is possible.

Where you can sit in the courtroom

In the courtroom, you and anyone supporting you, as well as friends of the accused and any journalists, can sit in the public gallery. (If you are a witness, you will not be able to sit in the gallery until you have given evidence.)

It may be possible for you to sit in a different part of the gallery, away from friends of the accused. You can ask court staff, your VIA contact or the Witness Service if this is possible.

What you may see and hear, and how you may feel

In court, evidence is presented to the justice of the peace, sheriff, judge and/or jury. Sometimes you may not be able to see evidence being discussed (such as diagrams or videos). If you can see evidence, some of it may be particularly upsetting. You may also strongly disagree with one or more things said in court by a lawyer for the accused, or by a witness.

If you think you may get upset and need to leave the courtroom, you can. You are allowed to leave and re-enter a courtroom quietly. While you are in court, you are required to sit quietly and not talk. People who disturb court proceedings can be asked to leave.

You are usually allowed to take notes in court, but sometimes there are legal reasons that prevent this. You should check with court staff first. You are not allowed to take photos or make sound recordings. You should switch off your phone or other device before you enter the courtroom.

You can ask your VIA contact questions about what is happening in court during breaks.

Courtroom changes and delays

Sometimes a court building has many courtrooms in it. Sometimes the courtroom in which your case will be heard changes. Sometimes, the start time of a hearing is delayed or a hearing is postponed to another day. Your VIA contact should keep you up to date with what is happening.


If you are asked to be a witness in court

In certain cases a person who is bereaved by a road crash is called as a witness to give evidence in court. If you are asked to be a witness, the Procurator Fiscal will send you a letter requesting your availability.

Being a witness in court is a new experience for most people and it may help to have support. See below for a list of people and organisations that can support you.

If you have any questions about being a witness, you can call the Procurator Fiscal on 0300 020 3000 for more information.

Information to help you understand what will happen if you are called as a witness is written into a COPFS booklet called ‘Being a witness’. You can read this booklet at

Support for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses

Witnesses who are vulnerable or feel intimidated may be able to give evidence with the assistance of special measures such as:

  • screening (so you and the accused cannot see each other)
  • television links (so you can give evidence from somewhere away from the courtroom)
  • allowing a supporter to sit with you while you give evidence
  • closing the courtroom to the public while you give evidence
  • allowing a written, audio or video statement to be used as evidence
  • allowing you to give evidence at a different time and place to the court hearing.

The court has to follow guidelines when deciding who is eligible for special measures. If you want to find out if you can use any special measures, talk to the Procurator Fiscal or your VIA contact.

For more information about support for witnesses, go to and click on 'Help and support'.


Support in court

Attending a court hearing or being a witness in court is a new experience for most people. The following people and organisations may be able to help you prepare for a visit to court or support you in court.

  • Victim Information and Advice (VIA). The VIA service provided by COPFS can help you understand procedures in court and what happens in your case. It can provide additional support if you are a witness giving evidence. VIA can also arrange for you to visit the court before a trial. Your VIA officer, if you have been assigned one, can meet you when you attend court. They won’t sit in court with you but they will try to attend court for any plea or verdict, so they can explain it to you afterwards.
  • Victim Support Scotland. The charity Victim Support Scotland provides emotional and practical advice and support to victims and witnesses of crime. This help is free and confidential.
  • Victim Support Scotland’s Witness Service can provide support throughout a trial, including if you are a witness giving evidence.

The Witness Service is available in all High Court, Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace courts. They can arrange a visit to the court before the hearing, so you can familiarise yourself with a court room and court facilities.

Online tours are also available. Many people find this helpful.

You may be able to get financial support to help with the costs of attending court. You can ask your VIA officer to give you more information or go to to find out more about financial support for victims of crime.

For more information about the VIA service provided by COPFS, see Section 3: Criminal investigations and charges.

For more information about Victim Support Scotland, call 0800 160 1985 or go to

The police or your VIA officer will be able to put you in touch with Victim Support’s Witness Service. You can also call the Victim Support Scotland Witness Service helpline on 0800 160 1985 or go to to find out more.


Court procedures

Courts where offences can be heard

There are different kinds of offence and these can be heard in different courts.

  • Serious criminal offences following a death on the road are heard in a Sheriff Court or the High Court. The most serious offences are heard in the High Court.
  • Less serious criminal offences are heard in Justice of the Peace Courts. Justice of the Peace Courts often use the same building as a Sheriff Court.

Preliminary hearings and length of trials

Before the main trial goes ahead, a prosecution may start with one or more short hearings. These hearings are called different names in different courts:

  • preliminary hearing (in the High Court)
  • first diet (in a Sheriff Court under solemn procedure)
  • intermediate diet (in a Sheriff or Justice of the Peace Court under summary procedure).

These short hearings give lawyers an opportunity to talk about any legal issues that may affect the case and discuss the availability of witnesses.

The aim of these hearings is to help a trial proceed smoothly without unnecessary delays. Usually no witnesses are called at these hearings.

Cases can take a long time to come to court. This may be because witnesses need to be traced or documents need to be obtained, or for other reasons. Court hearings may also start late, be cut short or be postponed.

Your VIA officer (see above) can explain to you what is likely to happen at a planned hearing and how a case is progressing.

What happens in a Sheriff Court or the High Court?

An accused person is usually required to appear in court to plead guilty or not guilty. Sometimes a solicitor can plead not guilty on behalf of the accused.

If an accused person pleads guilty to a charge, the sheriff (in a Sheriff Court) or the judge (in the High Court) hears the facts of the case before sentencing. They may decide to sentence on a different date.

If an accused person pleads not guilty to a charge, the case will go to trial.

Sheriff and High Court hearings and trials

Sheriff Court trials can be heard in front of a jury (solemn procedure) or without a jury (summary procedure).

High court trials are heard in front of a jury.

Trials may take one day or they may take several days. A trial may be heard on consecutive days or on several days spaced over several weeks.

The prosecutor presents the evidence against the accused person. In the Sheriff Court, the Procurator Fiscal is the prosecutor. In the High Court, an official known as the Advocate Depute is the prosecutor.

A defence lawyer presents the evidence for the accused person. Both sides may call witnesses to give evidence. Witnesses may include police crash investigation officers or someone who sees a crash, or events leading up to a crash.

Photographs, videos and diagrams may be shown. Both sides can ask the witnesses questions. The sheriff or judge can also ask the witnesses questions. The accused person can choose not to give evidence.

After all of the evidence has been presented, the prosecutor and the defence lawyer make closing speeches to help the jury (or the sheriff if there isn’t a jury) decide whether the accused is guilty.

If there is a jury, the sheriff or judge will also give a speech on the law to help the jury to reach a decision. For a guilty verdict, there must be at least eight votes for guilty.

To get a guilty verdict, it is up to the prosecutor to prove the case ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

After the verdict has been decided, the sheriff or judge decides the sentence, or chooses to sentence at a later date (see page 80).

Sometimes a sheriff refers the accused to the High Court for sentencing.

This happens if the sheriff thinks the accused should receive a higher sentence than they can impose in a Sheriff Court.

What happens in a Justice of the Peace Court?

A trial in a Justice of the Peace Court is heard by a Justice of the Peace (a trained member of the public) who sits with a legally qualified clerk.

If an accused person pleads guilty to a charge, the Justice of the Peace hears the facts of the case before sentencing.

If an accused person pleads not guilty, the case goes to trial.

Justice of the Peace Courts hearings and trials

Procedures in a Justice of the Peace Court are similar to those in a Sheriff Court (see above).

The Justice of the Peace decides the verdict and sentence (if the verdict is guilty). There is no jury.

Justices of the Peace have different sentencing powers to judges and sheriffs. Justices of the Peace can impose fines up to £2,500 or prison sentences up to 60 days.

Children’s hearings

If the accused is under the age of 16, or aged 16 or 17 and under the supervision of the Children’s Hearings System, and they have been charged with certain offences, they may be considered for prosecution by the Procurator Fiscal. Alternatively, their case may be referred to a Children’s Reporter who works for an organisation called the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration.

When deciding what to do about a child or young person, the Reporter has three options. They can:

  • arrange a children’s hearing, heard in front of three trained volunteers
  • refer the case to the local authority to work with the young person to deal with the offending behaviour, or
  • decide not to arrange a children’s hearing nor refer the case.

There is information for victims of youth crime on the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration website at


Verdicts and sentences

The verdict

At trial, there are three possible verdicts: guilty, not guilty, and not proven. If the verdict is not guilty or not proven, the accused goes free. Even if new evidence emerges against them, they cannot be tried again (except in very rare circumstances and for very serious offences).

Sometimes during a trial an accused person changes their plea. They might decide to plead guilty after previously not pleading guilty. Or they might decide to plead guilty to committing a less serious offence.

Sometimes an accused person who is being tried for committing a serious offence is found not guilty of that offence, but guilty of committing a less serious offence.

A person who is found guilty of committing a crime is called an offender.

Pleas in mitigation and background reports

Before an offender is sentenced, their lawyer will advise the judge about any mitigating factors that they think might reduce the sentence, such as an offender’s stated remorse or personal circumstances.

The judge may also ask for background information about the offender.

This happens if the offender hasn’t been to prison before, or is under the age of 21 (this age requirement does not apply for the offence of murder), or is serving a community sentence. Sentencing may be delayed until a later date so this background information can be provided and the judge can consider the sentence.


An offender’s sentence is decided by the judge, sheriff, summary sheriff or Justice of the Peace.

When sentencing, various things may be taken into account, including:

  • any ‘pleas in mitigation’ or the findings of background reports (see previous page)
  • victim statements (see Section 3: Criminal investigation and charges)
  • whether the offender pleaded guilty or not. If the offender pleaded guilty, then the sentence can be reduced. This is called a 'discount'. The discount depends on when the offender pleaded guilty, but can be up to a third of the sentence guidelines on sentencing
  • the level of sentences in similar cases in the past. This is called ‘case law’
  • whether a warning, community sentence (see next page) or fine is appropriate rather than prison.

The maximum sentence that can be imposed will vary depending on the offence and the type of court it is prosecuted in. A court will rarely impose the maximum penalty and sometimes imposes a much lower penalty.

Very occasionally, a judge decides to discharge an offender without sentencing them. This means no penalty is imposed on more serious cases (indictment) and no conviction is recorded in less serious (summary) cases. This is called an ‘absolute discharge’.

If the law changes, offenders will be sentenced according to the law at the time the offence was committed.

If you don’t understand the basis for a sentencing decision, talk to your VIA officer or the Procurator Fiscal.

Community sentences

Sometimes an offender is given a community sentence rather than a prison sentence. This means they have to serve their sentence under supervision in their community.

An offender may be given a Community Payback Order which could require them to do different things, including:

  • unpaid work in the community
  • attending a training programme for offenders
  • paying money (through compensation payments) to a person or people affected by their offence.

If an offender has mental health, drug or alcohol abuse problems, and was sentenced in a Sheriff Court or High Court, they may be required to receive supervised treatment and their progress may be monitored.

An offender may also be given a Restriction of Liberty Order which means they are electronically tagged and their movement is restricted.

For more information about community sentences, go to and search for 'reducing reoffending'.

For more information about sentencing, including sentencing guidelines, go to the Scottish Sentencing Council website at



Appeals by an offender

Following a criminal case, an offender may appeal against their conviction or sentence or both.

If an offender pleaded guilty, they can only appeal against their sentence.

If an offender is in prison, they can apply for bail and in some cases may be released while waiting for the appeal. This is called ‘interim liberation’.

Almost all appeals from summary proceedings in a Sheriff Court or Justice of the Peace Court are heard by judges in the Sheriff Appeal Court in Edinburgh. Appeals from solemn proceedings are heard by judges in the High Court in Edinburgh (known as the Court of Criminal Appeal).

Two judges sit to hear an appeal against sentence. Three judges sit to hear an appeal against conviction.

If an offender is only appealing against their sentence, the court may confirm the original sentence or impose a different sentence (which may be higher or lower).

If an offender is appealing against their conviction, the court may consider points of law that the offender thinks were not properly considered at the original trial. The court decides whether to uphold or quash the conviction. If the court upholds the conviction, the sentence is not revisited unless an offender is also appealing against their sentence. If the appeal is allowed, the court may acquit the offender, convict them of a less serious offence, or order a retrial.

Appeals by the prosecution

The prosecution can appeal against a sentence, but only where it considers the sentence to be ‘unduly lenient’. If you are unhappy with a sentence or conviction, tell the Procurator Fiscal as soon as possible. They can tell you whether they plan to lodge an appeal.

The prosecution cannot usually appeal against a ‘not guilty’ or ‘not proven’ verdict.

When can appeals be lodged?

In solemn procedure cases, an offender must lodge their intention to appeal within two weeks.

In summary procedure cases, appeals must be lodged within one week. The High Court has the power to extend these periods.

Appeals against a sentence by the prosecution must be lodged within 28 days.

Your VIA officer should tell you if there is an appeal. They can also tell you if someone is granted bail before an appeal, the date of an appeal, its progress and its outcome. You can attend all appeals and take friends, family or support workers.


Prisoner release

Will an offender serve their whole sentence in prison?

Offenders are usually released from prison before the end of their sentence. This is called ‘automatic early release’.

Sometimes an offender is released early under the Home Detention Curfew Scheme. They are required to remain at a particular address during certain hours, and wear an electronic tag to monitor their movements.

An offender sentenced to less than four years in prison will be released after serving half their sentence.

An offender sentenced to four or more years in prison can apply for early release after serving half their sentence. If their first application for early release is unsuccessful, their case can be reconsidered every 12 months.

If an offender was sentenced before 1 February 2016, and any applications for early release have been unsuccessful, they will be released after serving two-thirds of their sentence. If an offender was sentenced on or after

1 February 2016, and any applications for early release have been unsuccessful, they will not be released until the final six months of their sentence.

Offenders must be supervised in the community until the end of their sentence. This is called ‘being on licence’.

The Parole Board for Scotland decides whether or not to release an offender on licence, and any licence conditions attached to the release. Before an offender is released, the Parole Board for Scotland must be satisfied that they do not present an unacceptable risk to public safety. It considers factors including:

  • nature and circumstances of the offence
  • an offender’s conduct while in prison
  • likelihood of committing an offence if released
  • what the offender intends to do when released.

Offenders who are released on licence are required to comply with certain conditions. These may include living at a certain address, a curfew, a requirement not to make contact with you, and compulsory meetings with their supervising officer. If an offender fails to comply with these conditions, or commits another offence, they may have to go back to prison. The court can impose additional penalties if an offender commits an offence while on licence.

Sometimes an offender is released for short periods on temporary licence during their prison sentence. This could be to attend a funeral, to have medical treatment, or to prepare for their return to the community.

Offenders must return to prison at the end of a temporary licence.

For more information about the Parole Board for Scotland, go to

Will an offender serve their whole driving disqualification?

Under certain circumstances, an offender who has been disqualified from driving can apply to court to have the remaining period of disqualification removed.

This process is normally called a ‘removal of disqualification’ application. An offender can apply to the court for a removal of disqualification after:

  • two years, if the disqualification was for between two and four years
  • half the disqualification period, if the disqualification was for between four and 10 years
  • five years, if the disqualification was for 10 years or more (including disqualification for life).

The court will take into account the offender’s reasons for asking for the disqualification to be removed. The court will also consider information from the police about the offender’s behaviour since their disqualification. If the court refuses the application, the offender can reapply after three months.

The law sets out the minimum period of a driving disqualification but courts can impose longer bans, including life bans. Courts may lengthen an offender’s driving disqualification if the offender is spending time in prison.


Victim Notification Scheme

Will I be told when an offender is going to be released?

If an offender was sentenced to more than 18 months in prison, you may be eligible to join the Victim Notification Scheme, managed by the Scottish Prison Service. If you are eligible, the Procurator Fiscal or your VIA contact should give you an application form to fill out and send to the Scottish Prison Service. Up to four family members may be eligible to join the scheme.

The Victim Notification Scheme has two parts. You can register for either or both parts.

Part one entitles you to know certain information. You should be told within 48 hours:

  • the date of an offender’s release
  • if an offender dies before being released
  • if an offender is transferred out of Scotland
  • if an offender is eligible for temporary release (see above)
  • if an offender escapes or absconds
  • if an offender returns to prison for a reason connected with your case
  • if an offender has been granted permission to leave hospital without an escort or supervision.

Part two entitles you to know if an offender is being considered for parole or for release with an electronic tag. It also allows you to write to the Parole Board for Scotland or Scottish Prison Service about an offender’s release, or to request a meeting to talk about an offender’s release. If an offender is serving a life sentence or other extended sentence, you may be able to view by video link a tribunal to consider their release.

Your thoughts should be taken into account when decisions are made about any conditions attached to an offender’s release, for example if they must not contact you. You should be informed if the Parole Board for Scotland or the Scottish Prison Service has recommended the release of an offender.

You should also be informed if there are any conditions attached to the release that affect you. If an offender serving a life sentence is being considered for release, you should be invited to a meeting with the Parole Board for Scotland to discuss this.

If you are worried about an offender’s release or want more information, you can write to the Parole Board for Scotland if an offender is being considered for release on parole. You can write to the Scottish Prison Service if an offender is being considered for release with an electronic tag (Home Detention Curfew) or temporary release.

If an offender has been sentenced to less than 18 months in prison, you are only entitled to get information about their release or escape. You can ask the Scottish Prison Service to give you this information.

If an offender is treated in hospital for mental illness, you may be entitled to receive information about their release through the Compulsion Order and Restriction Order (CORO) Victim Notification Scheme. For more information about this scheme, go to and search ‘CORO’.

To find out if you are entitled to join the Victim Notification Scheme, talk to the Procurator Fiscal or your VIA contact.

To find out more about the Victim Notification Scheme, call the Scottish Prison Service on 0131 330 3664 or go to

Victim Support Scotland can provide support to help you register for the Victim Notification Scheme. For more information, go to and search for ‘victim notification scheme’.

You can choose to join or leave the scheme at any time before an offender is due for release.


Fatal Accident Inquiries

A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) is a public court hearing to find out what caused a death and to consider how to prevent other deaths or injuries.

An FAI is held if a death was sudden, suspicious or unexplained.

An FAI may be held if a road death raises concerns about public safety, for example, if poor road layout or road signage contributed to a crash.

An FAI will be held if someone died in a crash while working, for example a lorry driver.

An FAI cannot apportion criminal blame, nor decide if someone should be punished or receive compensation. These things are decided through criminal proceedings (see Section 3: Criminal investigation and charges) and civil proceedings (see Section 5: Can I claim compensation?).

If enough evidence has been provided at a criminal trial to show why a death occurred, an FAI may not be necessary.

Who decides if an FAI should be held?

If the Procurator Fiscal thinks an FAI should be held, they will meet you to discuss your views. Your solicitor, if you have one, can help you plan what you want to say. The Procurator Fiscal will then write a report that includes your views.

The Procurator Fiscal’s report is sent to senior lawyers called Crown Counsel who decide if an FAI should be held. The final decision is made by the Lord Advocate, the senior Scottish Law Officer who is responsible for criminal prosecution and the investigation of deaths in Scotland.

If Crown Counsel decides that an FAI will be held, the Procurator Fiscal will write to you within 14 days and tell you when the FAI will take place. If an FAI is not going to be held, the Procurator Fiscal will invite you to a meeting and will write to you to explain why. This is written into COPFS guidance called the Family Liaison Charter. You can read this guidance at

You can choose whether you want to hear decisions about an FAI at a meeting, by phone or by letter. If you say you don’t want the Procurator Fiscal to write to you, you can change your mind and get written reasons later on.

If you are unhappy with a decision about an FAI, you can ask for the decision to be reviewed by a senior Crown Counsel who was not involved in the original decision.

What happens at an FAI?

Police, expert witnesses and witnesses can be asked to give evidence at an FAI. You may be entitled to take part by asking questions to witnesses. You may be able to ask a solicitor to do this for you. Legal aid may be available to fund the cost of a solicitor.

If you are pursuing a claim for compensation (see Section 5: Can I claim compensation?), the solicitor who is handling your claim may wish to attend the FAI.

Other interested parties may be able to take part in FAI and ask questions or be represented. This requires the permission of the sheriff.

To find a solicitor that specialises in FAIs, call the Law Society of Scotland on 0131 226 7411.

The FAI determination

At the end of an FAI the sheriff delivers a decision called a determination. The determination can state:

  • when and where the death occurred
  • when and where the incident resulting in the death occurred
  • the cause or causes of the death
  • the cause or causes of the incident resulting in the death
  • any precautions that could reasonably have been taken to prevent the death, or to prevent the incident resulting in the death
  • any defects in any system of working that contributed to the death or any incident resulting in the death
  • any other facts relevant to the circumstances of the death.

The determination may make recommendations to an individual or group to help prevent more deaths happening in the same way.

If the individual or group took part in the FAI, they must provide written details of how they will implement the recommendations. If they decide not to follow the recommendations, they must explain why.

Challenging an FAI determination

In certain cases, bereaved people have challenged FAI determinations through a process called judicial review. If you want to find out if this is possible, consult a solicitor who specialises in judicial reviews.


Having your say about criminal justice

Victims and witnesses of crime are entitled to a certain level of support and information from the organisations they deal with in the criminal justice system.

This is written into a government document called 'Standards of Service', which explains what you can expect at each stage of the criminal justice process and who you can ask for help and advice. You can read this document at

If you have a comment or concern about the criminal justice system, you have a right to be heard and your point of view considered. Speaking up may also help improve criminal justice in the future.

You may have one or more points you want to raise with one or more criminal justice organisations.

Your first step should be to decide which organisation you need to contact:

  • Police Scotland is responsible for police family liaison and criminal investigations
  • The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) is responsible for prosecuting crimes, establishing the cause of sudden or unexplained deaths, and supporting victims and witnesses
  • The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service is responsible for providing court buildings, facilities and staff
  • Sheriffs and Justices of the Peace make decisions about when and how court cases are heard, and the outcomes of those cases
  • The prison service is responsible for what happens to an offender.

Your next step is to find out the complaint policy of the organisation you want to contact. Different organisations have different complaint policies, and these policies explain how to have your say. You can usually find an organisation’s complaint policy on their website, or ask a local official who works for that organisation to give you a copy.

A complaint policy usually asks you to submit comments in writing. It should explain who will respond (usually a complaints officer or someone close to your case) and how quickly. Whoever responds should aim to address your comments to your satisfaction. You may also be able to request a meeting.

If you are not satisfied with a response you receive

Complaint policies usually explain steps you can take if you are not satisfied with a response. Usually, this includes giving you the chance to have your comments considered by someone else, such as someone more senior.

If you are still not satisfied with another response you receive, a complaint policy may give you further opportunities, such as having your comments reconsidered by a specialist team, or by the boss of the organisation.

There may also be an opportunity to have your comments considered by an independent agency. For example, the Police Investigations & Review

Commissioner may review the way your complaint was handled by the police. For more information, go to

Having your say to the government

Criminal justice organisations, including Police Scotland and COPFS, are set up and regulated by the government, and are the responsibility of particular government departments and their ministers.

If you feel your concerns have not been answered by a criminal justice organisation and you wish to raise your concerns with the government, you have a right to do this.

Any criminal justice organisation can confirm for you which government minister they report to, in which department, and how to contact that minister. You may choose to contact a minister directly, or through your MP or MSP. You can also contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, who is responsible for investigating complaints about organisations providing public services in Scotland. For more information, go to or call 0800 377 7330.

If you are not sure how to have your voice heard, or you need help preparing what you want to say, call the National Road Victim Service on 0808 8000 401 or email