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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-22800

  • Asked by: Liam McArthur, MSP for Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats
  • Date lodged: 8 November 2023
  • Current status: Answered by Angela Constance on 21 November 2023


To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S6W-21911 by Angela Constance on 24 October 2023, what action it is taking in response to the finding by the University of Edinburgh's Child Safety, Justice and Recovery Research Group in its North Strathclyde Bairns Hoose Evaluation: Phase One Report, published in March 2023, that the use of joint investigative interviews (JIIs) has had “little impact” on children and that child witnesses are still required to attend court “in almost all cases”.


The Scottish Government is continuing the phased implementation of the Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Act 2019. A presumption in favour of pre-recording the evidence of child witnesses in cases which involve specified offences is already in place in the High Court, unless specific exceptions apply. We remain committed to extending this presumption to children giving evidence in relevant cases in the sheriff courts and will publish a revised Implementation Plan by the end of March.

We continue to support national rollout of the new Scottish Child Interview Model for Joint Investigative Interviews with over £2 million funding and have committed further support through the Bairns’ Hoose Pathfinder Phase. The model aims to secure a child’s best evidence at the earliest opportunity, while minimising retraumatisation. We have commissioned an independent evaluation of the model and its expected outcomes. It is anticipated that the model will be available across Scotland by the end of 2024.