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02/12/18 00:01

Improved services for victims of sexual crimes

£8.5 million investment over three years.

Healthcare services for victims of rape and sexual assault will be improved through £8.5million of investment.

The Scottish Government will provide the money over the next three years to help health boards deliver better services for victims. In this financial year, £2.5m will be used to recruit workforce, provide training and create facilities.

This investment will support the work of the Scottish Government Taskforce. Established in 2017 and lead by the Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood, the expert group are supporting health boards to improve services for children and adults who have experienced rape and sexual assault.

Cabinet Secretary for Health Jeane Freeman said:

"I want to see compassionate healthcare and support should be as close as possible to the point of need. Our Taskforce is driving improvement in this important area and they are on track with their five year plan.

"I am particularly encouraged to see the progress NHS Forth Valley are making with the development of their new service for victims of sexual crime, which has been supported by Scottish Government funding.

"The commitment of the team to progress this and share their learning with other health boards is just one example of how we can make improvements for victims of sexual crime a reality.

Claire Montgomery, Advocacy Worker, Forth Valley Rape Crisis said:

"The new NHS Forth Valley forensic unit is going to be a great asset. We have been very impressed with the level of thought that's gone into designing the unit with the needs of survivors of sexual violence been seen as a top priority. 

"Having to go through a forensic examination can be extremely difficult and it is important that services such as this have taken the time to consider what survivors need during this traumatic time.  

"Having a variety of other relevant services under one roof will be also be really beneficial for survivors accessing support and information, making sure people have access to the services they need that can support them in their recovery."

Cathie Cowan, NHS Forth Valley's Chief Executive, said:

"Our new centre, which will be known as the Meadows, has been specifically designed with the needs of users in mind.

"It will contain a forensic suite as well as a specialist area to meet the needs of children. It will also have police interview facilities for both children and adults and specially-trained staff to help deal with trauma and provide ongoing support.

"The development of this important new facility, which is due to open in April 2019, is the result of close working with a number of partners, including Police Scotland and Rape Crisis and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved."

Background

Read the Taskforce Plan

The Scottish Government has provided £2.5 million of the £8.5 million funding in the current financial year (2018/19) which will support Health Boards to improve their facilities and to imbed the published Healthcare Improvement Scotland standards.

A further £3 million will be provided in 19/20 and £3 million in 20/21.

Our Programme for Government 2018 makes specific commitments about consulting on legislative change and continuing work to improve the gender balance of the workforce trained to carry out forensic medical examinations.

A consultation on the draft adult clinical pathway for healthcare and forensic medical services is currently out for consultation.