Date lodged: 30 January 2019
To ask the Scottish Government how the proposed Victims Taskforce will address the needs of the families of resident Scots who have died abroad in suspicious circumstances, and how the taskforce will use the experiences of the families to help inform its approach on these matters.
Answered by: Humza Yousaf 27 February 2019
The Victims Taskforce has been established to improve support, advice and information for victims of crime and their families as they interact with the Scottish criminal justice system.
I am aware that there are a range of issues which Scottish families face when dealing with the death of a loved one abroad in suspicious circumstances, which are often also faced by victims of crime in Scotland. The Victims Taskforce will consider how these common issues can be tackled, informed by the experiences of victims themselves.
There are other issues related to the death of a loved one abroad which require specialist consular support, including the notification of a death abroad and subsequent advice to bereaved families. Consular support is reserved to the UK Government and the Scottish Government would ordinarily refer individuals to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Consular Affairs department who would work with Police Scotland.
However, I do not believe that the current system is wholly satisfactory, and await with interest the report from the All-Party UK Parliamentary Group on Deaths Abroad and Consular Services. I am keen to explore this issue further.