Better support on offer to sex attack victims

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson

Victims of sexual violence will receive better support thanks to new nationwide standards to improve forensic medical examinations.

The standards, which will ensure best practice is applied during examinations after a rape or sexual assault, will be produced by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

It is hoped the move will encourage more victims to report attacks.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, the MSP for Falkirk West said: “It is important that victims of sexual violence feel confident coming forward, knowing they are going to be supported every step of the way, including during the forensic examination. While the way evidence is gathered and recorded is a top priority for the legal process, it must be balanced with the needs of victims, who may be vulnerable and traumatised.

“The new standards are an important step in ensuring a consistent and sympathetic service.”

The new standards will ensure that every NHS health board is clear about what is expected in the delivery of care for victims, including the conditions and way in which forensic examinations are handled.

Sara Twaddle, Director of Evidence for Healthcare Improvement Scotland said: “It is vital victims of rape or sexual assault receive the best care and support possible, that they have confidence in the service and that examinations are carried out to the same high standard across the country.”