Ayr MSP Siobhian Brown has appeared in court - but not in connection with any crime.

Ms Brown, Scottish Government minister for victims and community safety, visited Edinburgh Sheriff Court during Victims Awareness Week.

Afterwards Ms Brown spoke of how the experience helped her understand the "emotional, psychological and physical impact of giving evidence".

She met staff and volunteers from Victim Support Scotland (VSS), and spoke with a victim of domestic abuse who has been supported by the charity.

Ms Brown said: "The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that victims affected by crime get all the support they need.

"It was a privilege to hear first-hand from people going through the criminal justice system about their experiences.

"Sitting in the witness box helps me as minister for victims to understand the emotional, psychological and physical impact of giving evidence.

"It is important that victims are made aware of, and understand, their rights and know how to access the range of support that is available.

"The Victims' Code for Scotland sets out these rights and who to contact for help and advice."

The code provides a legal right to support for those who are a victim of crime, with Ms Brown adding that changes proposed in the Victims, Witnesses and Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill - which is currently going through the Scottish Parliament - will "further strengthen these rights".

VSS chief executive Kate Wallace said: "In Scotland, anyone affected by crime has a right to support and information, regardless of whether the crime was reported to the police or not.

"While not everyone affected by crime will want to exercise these rights, there is a significant gap between the number of crimes recorded and the number of people referred to and seeking support.

"By working closely with Police Scotland, victim support organisations, and directly with victims, we hope to raise more awareness of victims' rights and reach more people in the year ahead.

"We want everyone to know that if they or someone they know is affected by crime, Victim Support Scotland can help."