A new code setting out the rights of victims of crime has been launched.

The Victims' Code for Scotland aims to improve their experience of the criminal justice system by clearly setting out rights, such as information about the release of offenders.

Paul Wheelhouse, minister for community safety and legal affairs, launched the code in Selkirk, Borders, on European Day for Victims of Crime.

Speaking at the charity Children 1st, Mr Wheelhouse said: "We have long recognised the need to provide the right help, information and support to those affected by crime as this plays a key part in a modern justice system that is fair, accessible and efficient for all.

"This government has already introduced a range of measures to ensure that those who rely on our justice system have confidence that their voices will be heard.

"This new Victims' Code for Scotland will build on the progress already made by clearly and simply setting out the rights of victims in one place.

"By ensuring their interests remain at the heart of the criminal justice system, we can help victims continue to feel supported and informed at every stage of the process."

Anna O'Reilly, Children 1st assistant director for the Scottish Borders, said: "We support children and families whose lives have been scarred by abuse and a critical part of that work is ensuring they aren't traumatised further by the process of bringing the perpetrator of their abuse to justice.

"The Victims' Code will make a difference to the children and families we help. We also welcome the Scottish Government's commitment to publishing a child-friendly version of the code in the near future."

The code can be accessed online at www.mygov.scot/victim-witness-rights/

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes said: "The Victims and Witnesses Act was passed two years ago but there are still major parts of the legislation that have not been put into place. The Victims Surcharge Fund, which would provide more than £1 million a year to the victims of crime, is still not up and running.

"And the provisions I secured on the creation of guidance on the use of restorative justice have still not been taken forward.

"Over the years we've increasingly seen the benefits that restorative justice services can bring in the right circumstances. Restorative justice can help victims overcome their experience, achieve a greater understanding of why they were a victim and have an opportunity to receive a genuine apology. It can also inspire those who have caused harm to reflect on their actions and take personal responsibility.

"The Victims' Code is a small step in the right direction. But there is so much more that the Scottish Government has simply failed to deliver and now victims will have to wait until the next parliament to see any movement at all."