An Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) was undertaken in connection with the Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Bill to consider potential impacts across the protected characteristics for the provisions included in the Bill.
The main policy aim of the Bill is to improve how child witnesses, in the first instance, and vulnerable witnesses participate in our criminal
justice system by enabling the much greater use of pre-recording their evidence in advance of a criminal trial.
The Bill will aim to enable the evidence of child and vulnerable witnesses to be taken at an earlier
stage, outwith the court room, to avoid having to endure the stress and anxiety of giving evidence in the formal court environment, allowing them to give their best evidence whilst maintaining the rights of a person accused of a crime. The Bill is
an important step towards achieving the vision of the Cabinet Secretary for Justice that, where possible, child witnesses should not have to give
evidence during a criminal trial.