After the verdict: victims and witnesses

Last updated: 2 May 2017

The Victim Notification Scheme

In some criminal cases, victims have a right to get information about the release of a prisoner. They also have a right to be told when the prisoner is considered for parole and to make written representations (comments) about their release to the Parole Board for Scotland.

This is called the Victim Notification Scheme. If you're eligible, it's up to you if you want to register or not.


You may be able to register for the Victim Notification Scheme if the offender in your case was sentenced to 18 months or more in prison. The Victim Information and Advice (VIA) service will let you know if you're eligible.

If the offender has been sentenced to less than 18 months in prison, you can write to the Scottish Prison Service and ask them to let you know when the offender is released, or if the offender escapes.

How it works

The scheme has 2 parts. You can choose to receive information under either or both parts.

Part 1

Part 1 gives you the right to know certain information about the offender. The Scottish Prison Service will tell you within 48 hours:

  • the date of the offender's release – (but not their location after release)
  • if the offender dies before being released
  • if the offender is transferred out of Scotland
  • if the offender is eligible for temporary release – like for training programmes or home leave
  • if the offender escapes from prison or absconds (doesn't come back when recalled)
  • if the offender returns to prison for any reason and it's connected to your case

Part 2

Part 2 gives you the right to know if the offender is being considered for parole or for release with an electronic tag (Home Detention Curfew). You'll have the right to:

  • send written comments to the Parole Board for Scotland when they're considering your case
  • send written comments to the Scottish Prison Service when they're considering releasing the offender with an electronic tag The Parole Board for Scotland and the Scottish Prison Service must tell you if:
  • they recommend or direct the release of the offender
  • there are any conditions of that release which affect you or your family

    The Scottish Prison Service won't tell the offender you have registered for the Victim Notification Scheme. If you choose to send written comments to the Parole Board for Scotland, the offender is likely to see them.

How to register

If you're eligible, after a prisoner has been sentenced the Procurator Fiscal or a VIA Officer will give you a form to fill out and send to the Scottish Prison Service.

If you haven't got an application form, phone VIA on 0844 561 3455/2417 or email

If you change your mind

You can leave the Victim Notification Scheme at any time by writing to the Scottish Prison Service to let them know.

You should tell the Scottish Prison Service if you change your address too.

Support and advice

Victim Support Scotland can help you decide whether to join the Victim Notification Scheme. It may also be able to help you prepare your representations for the Parole Board for Scotland.

Victim Support Scotland
Phone: 0345 603 9213 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm)
Find out about call charges

Further information

You can find out more about the Victim Notification Scheme from the Scottish Prison Service. You can e-mail them at, call them on 0131 330 3500 or write to them at:

Scottish Prison Service
Victim Notification Section
Calton House
5 Redheughs Rigg
EH12 9HW

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After the verdict: victims and witnesses
The Victim Notification Scheme