Scottish government announces improved support for rape survivors

The Scottish government has announced funding of £2.25 million to implement new forensic medial examination standards for rape and sexual assault survivors.

The standards, published by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS), will ensure that survivors – regardless of age, personal circumstances or geographical location – will experience a level of care to a high standard that aims to reduce the likelihood of further trauma.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We know the immediate and long-term physical and psychological consequences of rape can be considerable and we are aware that current services for rape victims may not always be focused on their needs.

“These standards will ensure consistency in approach to healthcare and forensic medical services and will reinforce the high-quality care anyone should expect after experiencing rape or sexual assault. It is our ambition to ensure that person-centred care is provided across both the health and justice system for victims, and improving forensic medical examinations is an important step in this work.

“We are grateful to people for taking the time to provide their candid feedback when you would expect they would just want to put the whole experience behind them. We want them to know that we have listened and are putting in place actions to make a difference.”

Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwoo added: “This funding demonstrates the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting NHS Boards to provide person-centred care.

“As set out in the Taskforce’s five year work plan, an early priority is to support Health Boards to have the equipment they need and to move any forensic medical examination facilities from police settings to health and social care settings.”