Improving the health response to child sexual abuse

Consultation on Scotland’s first clinical pathway. 

Views are being sought on how to ensure the best care and support is given to children who have suffered sexual abuse.

A new consultation will help to inform Scotland’s first clinical pathway in the area. It will provide guidance and resources for healthcare professionals who work to support children and young people who have disclosed sexual abuse, and those who care for them.

The pathway will set out the journey that a child should take through the healthcare service, and the high standard of care, information and support they should expect to receive. It will be used by NHS boards, local authorities and integrated joint boards to support them to deliver high quality services to children and young people.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“It is absolutely essential that any child or young person who has suffered sexual abuse is given all the support and care they need. The health service has a vital role to play in this, so it’s important we get this right.

“By establishing a national clinical pathway we can make sure that healthcare professionals have the guidance and information they need  to make sure that every single child is properly cared for.”

Dr Catherine Calderwood, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, said:

“This clinical pathway is an important part of our wider work to improve services for victims of sexual assault and abuse across Scotland. The care we provide to every single child and young person in this situation has to be of the very highest standard.  

“I would call on all healthcare professionals who work with young victims to share their views and expertise through this consultation.”


The clinical pathway consultation is on our website. 

A new clinical pathway for children and young people who have disclosed sexual abuse was one of the key deliverables under the remit of the Chief Medical Officer’s Rape and Sexual Assault Taskforce.

The pathway will be applicable to the care of children and young people aged less than 16, or up to 18 years for those with vulnerabilities and additional support needs, who have disclosed sexual abuse of any kind.



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