Legislation to overhaul the community justice system has been unanimously backed by MSPs.

The Community Justice (Scotland) Bill will see Scotland's eight community justice authorities abolished in favour of more local arrangements.

A national body will be set up to oversee the new system, which aims to more effectively rehabilitate criminals in the community.

Legal affairs minister Paul Wheelhouse told Holyrood's chamber: "The Community Justice Bill lays a firm foundation on which we will build a robust, transparent and inclusive new model for community justice in Scotland.

"The new model places decision-making locally for those who know their communities best and will be most affected by community issues."

The overhaul followed criticism of the current model of community justice by victims' groups.

Labour's Elaine Murray said changes to the Bill to include victims' interests were welcome.

She said: "Community justice will only work if the community and the judiciary believe it is an effective, successful and appropriate alternative to imprisonment.

"In particular, it is important for the victims of crime, when a community disposal is given, that due consideration is given to their views and needs, and that the disposal is not some sort of soft option."

Margaret Mitchell said the Conservatives would support the Bill but she lamented the exclusion of prevention and early intervention.

"This Bill paves the way for significant reforms to the community justice system in Scotland," she said.

"However a key element noticeably missing from the legislation was a focus on prevention and early intervention.

"Many justifiably argue that this is an opportunity lost."