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Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014


Section 7 - Interviews with children: guidance

26.This section provides that police officers and social workers must have due regard to guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers when carrying out joint investigative interviews with a child witness under the age of 18 in relation to criminal proceedings or a matter which may lead to criminal proceedings. Subsection (4) allows the Scottish Ministers to modify by order the list of persons to whom the obligation applies. Defining “child” as anyone under 18 is in line with the EU Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime (2012/29/EU) (which defines “child witness” for the purposes of criminal proceedings as any person below 18 years of age) and various other Directives (for example, on trafficking of human beings and child sexual exploitation). Lord Carloway’s Report into criminal law and practice also recommends that “for the purposes of arrest, detention and questioning, a child should be defined as anyone under the age of 18 years.”

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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