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Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014

Vulnerable witnesses

Section 11 – Child and deemed vulnerable witnesses

37.This section inserts the definitions of “child witness” (a witness under the age of 18) and “deemed vulnerable witness” (a witness who is considered vulnerable as a result of being an alleged victim of a sexual offence, human trafficking, domestic abuse or stalking) into section 271(5) of the 1995 Act. It makes various changes to section 271A (which currently details how child witnesses are to be treated in relation to special measures) and other parts of the 1995 Act which currently relate only to child witnesses to ensure that deemed vulnerable witnesses are subject to the same provisions as child witnesses were previously.

38.In particular, deemed vulnerable witnesses will be automatically entitled to the use of certain special measures known as standard special measures (previously only child witnesses had this entitlement as a matter of course). These standard special measures are the use of a live television link, a screen (to avoid the witness seeing the accused), and a supporter. In addition, the procedures for child witnesses are expanded to encompass deemed vulnerable witnesses.

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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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