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Better services for victims of sexual crime


25-August-2017

Doctors in Shetland will pilot a training programme in forensic medical examination services for victims of sexual crime. 

Research has shown a lack of trained female forensic examiners in Scotland but a recent survey of doctors showed that 55% of female respondents were interested in working in this area in principle.  

We are reviewing current training to make it more accessible, and new Scottish Government funding of £76,000 will support the course development and sponsor 50 new training places for doctors to complete the accredited course by 2018/19. NHS Shetland will support three of itslocal GPs to be among the first to take part in this training. 

Professor Stewart Irvine, Medical Director of NHS Education for Scotland, said: 

"Victims of rape and sexual abuse deserve the best possible care whether they are in urban or rural areas.  It is fundamentally important that no matter what part of Scotland we are dealing with, medical staff can have access to accredited, high-quality training.  

"NHS Education for Scotland is delighted to work with NHS Shetland to test and develop the training that is available to rural staff. In addition to redesigning training for doctors, we are creating a lead clinical position to act as a champion and resource for newly trained forensic medical examiners, to support recruitment of more women to this area of work and to support improvements to how the training is promoted nationally."  

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said 

“It is vitally important that we do all we can to ensure that the process of gathering evidence of rape or sexual assault doesn’t cause more trauma to victims. I am pleased to hear first-hand the actions that NHS Shetland, Rape Crisis Scotland and others are taking to address a lack of provision in island communities.  

Making this training more accessible and this new funding for doctors to become qualified to carry out these examinations, will mean that victims should no longer have to travel to the mainland for evidence to be taken. We also hope that it will encourage more female doctors throughout Scotland to come forward and become qualified to provide this service. As we learn from this pilot, we can look at rolling this training out in more communities to ensure that services are improved across Scotland."