£8.5m to im­prove sex crime ser­vices

Sunday Mail (UK) - - John Niven -

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment have an­nounced £8.5mil­lion in fund­ing to im­prove foren­sic med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions and other health ser­vices for vic­tims of rape and sex­ual as­sault.

This f inan­cia l year, £2.5mil­lion will go to­wards re­cruit­ing staff, train­ing and build­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

The re­main­ing £6mil­lion will be split equally be­tween 2019-20 and 2020-21.

It will help en­sure stan­dards in­tro­duced last year – in­clud­ing stop­ping vic­tims hav­ing foren­sic med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions in po­lice sta­tions – are reached.

Rape Cri­sis Scot­land said these changes are “wel­come but long over­due” but added Scot­land still has a long way to go to achieve a na­tion­wide min­i­mum stan­dard.

The cash will sup­port the Gov­ern­ment’s rape and sex­ual as­sault vic­tims task­force, set up fol­low­ing a crit­i­cal re­port on the qual­ity and avail­abil­ity of foren­sic med­i­cal ser­vices.

HM In­spec­torate of Con­stab­u­lary in Scot­land found sig­nif­i­cant vari­a­tions across the coun­try, with some “unac­cept­able”.

Some vic­tims faced long jour­neys for ex­am­i­na­tions and, in some cases, were asked not to wash for a day or more af­ter an as­sault.

Health Sec­re­tary Jeane Free­man said: “I want to see com­pas­sion­ate health­care and sup­port should be as close as pos­si­ble to the point of need.

“Our task­force are driv­ing im­prove­ment in this area and they are on track with their five-year plan.”

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