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Information for Bereaved Families and Friends Following Murder or Culpable Homicide

Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateMarch 14, 2013


ISBN 978 1 78256 390 7 (Web only publication)
DPPAS 13794

Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 – Update to guidance as a result of August commencement

This document is also available in pdf format (401k)
This document is also available in pdf format - Russian translation (971k)




Section 1: Important contacts
1.1 Key contacts for keeping in touch
The Procurator Fiscal (PF)
Victim Information and Advice (VIA) service
Support organisations
Your GP
1.2 The police Family Liaison Officer (FLO)
Who is the FLO?
What is the role of the FLO?
Will the FLO be involved throughout proceedings?
Liaison between the FLO and those who will prosecute any criminal case
1.3 The Victim Information and Advice (VIA) officer
Who is the VIA officer?
What is the role of the VIA officer?

Section 2: What you need to know now
2.1 Identifying the person who was killed
2.2 Seeing the body
2.3 Telling people about the death
2.4 Personal possessions and property
Personal possessions
What if the crime happened in my house?
2.5 The post mortem examination
What is a post mortem examination?
Possible delay in making funeral arrangements
Post mortem report
2.6 Funeral arrangements
When can the funeral take place?
Arranging a funeral
Paying for a funeral
Help from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme
Announcing the death
2.7 Coping with the media
Co-operating with the media
What you can and can't say
What can I do if I am unhappy with media reporting or intrusions?

Section 3: The criminal investigation
3.1 The police investigation
3.2 Gathering evidence
3.3 How long will the police investigation take?
3.4 The police report
3.5 The role of the Procurator Fiscal (PF)
3.6 Deciding on charges
Hate Crime
3.7 Definitions of murder and culpable homicide
3.8 Preliminary charges
3.9 Decision on whether to prosecute

Section 4: The criminal prosecution
4.1 Attending court
4.2 What happens before the trial
The accused's first appearance in court
Appearing for full committal
Preliminary hearing
4.3 Bail
Considering bail and bail conditions
Bail appeals
4.4 The High Court
4.5 The trial
4.6 If you are asked to be a witness
4.7 Support from the Witness Service
4.8 What to expect from a court case
4.9 Witness intimidation
4.10 Special measures for vulnerable or intimidated witnesses
4.11 Expenses to attend court
4.12 Verdicts
4.13 Sentencing
4.14 Mentally disordered offenders
What happens if the offender is mentally ill?
Disclosure of Information
4.15 Victim statements
4.16 Appeals by a convicted person
4.17 Appeals by the prosecution
4.18 Bringing a private prosecution
4.19 Civil action

Section 5: What happens after the sentence has been passed?
5.1 The Victim Notification Scheme
What is the Victim Notification Scheme?
How do I register for the scheme?
What will the offender know?
5.2 How long will the offender be in prison?
5.3 Consideration for release
5.4 Concerns after the prisoner has been released

Section 6: Practical issues
6.1 How to register a death
6.2 Murder, manslaughter and suspicious deaths committed in other countries
If a close friend or relative dies abroad and you are in the UK
How can British Consular staff help?
Bringing the person who has died back to the UK
Support services
6.3 Claiming criminal injuries compensation
Eligibility and awards
Information and application
6.4 Legal aid
6.5 Benefits
6.6 Wills
6.7 Who do you need to tell about the death?
6.8 Stopping unwanted mail
6.9 Debts
6.10 If you have concerns about the criminal justice system
The police
The Procurator Fiscal Service
Your Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs)

Section 7: Useful organisations and support
7.1 Services provided by Victim Support Scotland (VSS)
Victim Service
Support After Murder (SAM)
Witness Service
7.2 Self-help and other support groups
Petal (People Experiencing Trauma and Loss)
Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland
The Compassionate Friends
Lesbian and Gay Bereavement Project
7.3 Other sources of help
The Moira Fund
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
The Law Society of Scotland
Local authority housing or social work services

Section 8: Understanding the legal process and terms
8.1 Flowchart showing the investigation and prosecution process
8.2 Explanation of legal terms