Victims and Witnesses

In 2023, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs launched the Trauma Informed Justice Knowledge and Skills Framework for working with Victims and Witnesses, developed by NHS Education for Scotland (NES).

Executive Summary

This Framework identifies the knowledge and skills that different members of the workforce will need in order to support the justice system as a whole to become trauma informed for victims and witnesses. This includes the knowledge and skills required by those who provide advocacy and support, those who gather evidence, those who present or examine evidence in court, and those who lead systems and services

The framework has been developed in recognition of the considerable and multiple ways in which victims and witnesses can experience the criminal justice system as making their prior experiences of trauma worse, and the negative impact this has on their ability to effectively engage in the process, and to recover.

The evidence on which the framework is based, including literature reviews, and interviews with victims and witnesses and with justice leaders can also be found below, along with some initial learning resources.

Interviews with Dr Caroline Bruce, Head of Programme for Trauma, NHS Education for Scotland.

Video 1: the impact of psychological trauma on the perceived credibility of a witness

Video 2: Retraumatisation of witnesses in the criminal justice process and how to avoid it

Video 3: applying trauma informed principles to support witnesses to stay within their window of tolerance