A blog to mark the publication of the Survivor Reference Group Initial Report.
Last week we sat in a room in Glasgow and as sunshine poured in through the windows survivors delved into the details of where the justice system in Scotland had let them down. These conversations aren’t unusual for us at Rape Crisis Scotland – justice is one of our key priority areas – but what made this conversation out of the ordinary was that looking on and listening in were Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf and the Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC.
It was a meeting of power, though of very different kinds. Where the Justice Secretary and Lord Advocate have both a great deal of responsibility for justice in Scotland and power in terms of how this is – and is not – delivered, survivors were there to speak truth to it. In doing so with strength, courage and vulnerability, each of them showed the power of stories and of speaking out to effect change.
It can never be right that the process of seeking justice following sexual violence in Scotland is described by some as worse than the assault itself. We know that it is never going to be easy, but we also know it doesn’t have to be this hard.