What Information You Will Receive

There are two parts to the scheme for those victims of individuals sentenced to 18 months or more. You can choose to opt in to either Part 1 or Part 2, or both parts. The leaflets below provide further information on this.

If you are the victim of a short-term extended sentence offender sentenced prior to 15 May 2008, you will only be able to opt in to Part 1 of the Scheme. In practice, this will mean that you will not be able to make representations to the Parole Board if the offender is recalled to prison after being released and is being considered for re-release. In addition, you will not be able to make representations when licence conditions for the offender are being set prior to his or her release. However, you will still receive all of the information which you are eligible to receive under Part1 of the scheme.

 Victims who register under Part 1 of the scheme will receive the following information from the SPS:-

(a)        The date of release of the offender from prison or detention other than temporary release. This information will usually be sent to the victim about a month before the offender's date of release, so that the victim has some prior warning of it, except in life prisoner or extended sentence recall cases, these offenders must be released immediately following a direction from the Parole Board. It is therefore possible that the offender will have been released before the victim receives notification. In some cases an offender can be released from custody on Home Detention Curfew (HDC) Release. Where possible the SPS will notify the victim of these cases in advance, however in some cases, there is a very short time between the offender being approved for HDC and then being released.

 (b)        If the offender dies before release, the date of the death. If the offender dies, the victim will be notified as soon as possible after the death, but victims should be aware that there can be early press coverage of an offender's death in prison.

(c)        If the offender is transferred to a place out with Scotland, the date of the transfer. This information will be given as soon as the transfer has taken place.

(d)        If the offender becomes eligible for temporary release. Offenders can become involved in training and rehabilitation programmes and can be allowed leave from prison for short periods of home leave or work placement. Victims will be informed when the offender first becomes eligible for temporary release. However, you will not be told about each individual period of temporary release.

 (e)        If the offender has escaped or absconded. If the offender absconds or escapes, the police will be alerted immediately. If the offender is considered to present a threat to the victim, the police will take steps to ensure that the victim is notified as soon as possible. Sometimes offenders fail to return to prison after home leave or a work placement. Usually, offenders who fail to return are not dangerous and return to prison within the first 48 hours. Information about the offender escaping or absconding will be sent to the victim if the offender remains at large after 48 hours. The victim will also be notified when the offender is returned to custody.

 (f)        The date on which the offender has been returned to a prison or a young offender's institution to continue serving a sentence from which he or she has previously been released. This might occur, for example, where an offender has had any release licence revoked (cancelled or withdrawn), or following an order of the court.

 (g)        The date in which the original sentence expires. If an offender has been returned to prison because a further offence has been committed before the original sentence has expired, the victim(s) will be informed that the original sentence has ended and that the offender remains in prison. Victim(s) will no longer be a member of the Scheme from this point and will not be told when any further sentence expires. Where an extended sentence offender has been recalled to custody and remains in prison beyond the expiry of the extended sentence to serve a further sentence, victim(s) will be notified when the extension period expires and they will no longer be a member of the VNS in relation to this offence.

Victims who register under Part 2 of the scheme can register to make written representations to the Scottish Prison Service when the offender first becomes eligible for temporary release and release on Home Detention Curfew; and to the Parole Board for Scotland when the offender is being considered for release on parole licence.

 Written Representations to the Parole Board for Scotland

Where victims opts to make written representations to the Parole Board for Scotland about the offenders release, the SPS will provide Victims, Witnesses, Parole and Life Sentence Division (VWPLS) with the victim's details. VWPLS will write to the victim nearer the time that the offender's case is being considered, advising when and where to send their representations.

 Written Representations to the SPS

Those victims who have opted to make written representations to the SPS will receive a letter from SPS Headquarters near the time that the offender is being considered for temporary release advising when and where to send their representations.  SPS Headquarters will write to you to let you know of any licence conditions which are specific to you.

For those victims of offenders sentenced to less than 18 months you are entitled to know only of the release or escape of the offender. If you would like to receive this information you do not have to register with the scheme, you can simply contact us.

Guidance for Victims of Crime