Improving NHS services for victims of sexual crime

Thursday November 28th, 2019

Bill will support improvements to service delivery.
Government Opportunities
Victims of rape and sexual assault will be able to refer themselves for forensic examination without having to report a crime to police, as a result of measures outlined in a new Scottish Government Bill.

The Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) Scotland Bill contains a number of proposed changes including introducing clear legal responsibilities for health boards to provide direct access to forensic medical services for victims in a process known as ‘self-referral’, and establishing clear rights for victims to know what will happen with evidence taken from them.

This evidence may support any future criminal justice process, if a victim does not wish to report the incident they have suffered to the police or is undecided about doing so.

In addition, Ministers have announced £200,000 of funding for an initiative to develop the role of nurse sexual offence examiners in

Scotland. This will allow appropriately qualified and experienced nurses to undertake forensic medical examinations of victims of sexual crime and give evidence in court, something only doctors can do currently.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has been closely involved in the proposals to develop the nurse examiner workforce in Scotland.

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