The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) will receive £1.1 million in additional funding in response to a consistent rise in the number of reported sexual offences in Scotland since 2010.
The aim of the funding is to deal with the additional caseload by improving the service and reducing the time frame for cases to proceed through the courts. £300,000 will be given to the SCTS to shorten waiting times before proceedings commence, and to reduce instances of trials being moved to other court locations.
The funding will also address the experience of victims in the criminal justice system, by improving the service offered and information provided to complainers. Announcing the additional financial support, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf acknowledged that without adequate support and communication, victims of sexual offences may be reluctant to come forward:
"Despite the recent increase in sexual offence reports, we know that such crimes continue to be under-reported. This additional funding is just one of the actions we have put in place to help give victims confidence to report crimes by ensuring they are offered support at each step of the process."
Last year there were 1,878 recorded incidents of rape, and the number of convictions for sexual crimes reached an all-time high of 1,156.