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Rape crisis group hails new national forensics standards

Linda Gray of Rape Crisis Shetland.

SHETLAND Rape Crisis has expressed “delight” at the introduction of new national standards for forensic medical examinations and a Scottish Government funding package for its implementation.

Published by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS), the government says the standards will ensure that victims – regardless of age, circumstances or geography – experience a high standard of care aimed at reducing the likelihood of further trauma.

It is backed by a £2.25 million funding package to help health boards to implement the national standards.

Linda Gray of Rape Crisis Shetland said: “For areas geographically challenged like Shetland this will transform the access to timely, high quality support and person-centred care for survivors of rape and sexual violence.”

Earlier this year Scottish justice secretary Michael Matheson praised NHS Shetland for “rising to the challenge” after it committed to providing forensic examinations for survivors of sexual assaults without them having to leave the islands.

Rape crisis workers had previously expressed concern that some victims were being put off from reporting incidents in order to avoid the ordeal of travelling south for testing.

Matheson said this week: “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.”

Sandy Brindley of Rape Crisis Scotland said the new standards “have the potential to transform the support and care people receive after a rape or sexual assault. The funding to help implement the standards across the country is very welcome.”

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