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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

Further Progress on Legislation to Improve Services for Victims of Sexual Crime

The SNP Government has published an Analysis Report of views expressed through its consultation on legislative proposals to improve forensic medical services for victims of rape and sexual assault.

The consultation, ran from 15 February to 08 May this year and set out proposals on introducing direct statutory functions on NHS boards to provide forensic medical services and healthcare support to all victims, including those who have chosen not to report the crime to police, or are undecided, but wish to undergo examination and access support (known as “self-referral”).

Where the SNP Government has permission to do so, it has published moderated responses here.

Consultation events were also held with representatives from Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, NHS Scotland, Rape Crisis Scotland and survivors to explore the development of a consistent national model for self-referral.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP said:

“We will fully consider all views expressed through consultation. This will ensure any legislation brought forward as a result is fully considered, supports delivery and is informed by those who have lived experienced of rape or sexual assault.

“Subject to the finalisation of the government's legislative programme, it remains the intention to legislate in this area in the current parliamentary session.”

Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:

“Thanks go to the organisations who took part and even more so to those individuals who participated, some of whom I am sure will have found it personally very difficult to do so but are using their experiences to help improve the system.

“The importance of this legislation cannot be overstated and I am pleased to see this process moving along.

“The Equally Safe Strategy is part of wider SNP Government efforts to reduce gender-based violence. We now have the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 and in May of this year, we saw the launch of the first ever national guidance for professionals giving advice and support to young people on healthy relationships and consent.

“The SNP Government provided £2.5 million to support Health Boards to improve their facilities and to imbed the published Healthcare Improvement Scotland standards last year. A further £3 million is being provided this year and another £3 million in 20/21.

“Furthermore, it allocated another £1.5 million to Rape Crisis over three years last October. Ayrshire Rape Crisis received £15,000 for this year out of the first £500,000.

“In North Ayrshire, the SNP Government also funds delivery of the Caledonian System by Community Justice Ayrshire, a specialist court-mandated programme working with male perpetrators of domestic abuse, which aims to improve the lives of affected women and children.

"An all-round approach is the only way.”

The Equally Safe Consultation: Analysis of Responses can be found here.


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