Victim participation in criminal justice

Researchers: James Chalmers, Fiona Leverick, Peter Duff (University of Aberdeen)


Supported by funding from the Scottish Executive, the primary aim of this project was to evaluate the pilot victim statement schemes in Scotland that operated between 2003 and 2005. It also examined at a more general level the nature and appropriateness of victim participation in the criminal justice system. The research concluded that victim impact statements (where the statement maker is restricted to describing the impact of the crime as opposed to offering an opinion on the appropriate sentence) have more potential to improve the satisfaction of victims with the criminal justice process than had previously been acknowledged. It also made a number of recommendations relating to the operation of the victim statement scheme in Scotland, all of which were accepted when the scheme was rolled out nationally in April 2009.

Key publications:

F Leverick, J Chalmers and P Duff, An Evaluation of the Pilot Victim Statement Schemes in Scotland (2007) Edinburgh, Scottish Executive.

J Chalmers, P Duff and F Leverick, “Victim impact statements: can work, do work (for those who bother to make them)” [2007] Criminal Law Review 360-379.

F Leverick, “What has the ECHR done for victims? A United Kingdom perspective” (2004) 11(2/3) International Review of Victimology 177-200.

J Chalmers, P Duff and F Leverick, “The pilot victim statement scheme in Scotland” 2007 Scots Law Times 71-75.

J Chalmers, “What impact for victim statements?” (2008) 8 Scottish Law and Practice Quarterly 159-163.