Publication - Consultation paper

Equally Safe: consultation on legislation to improve forensic medical services for victims of rape and sexual assault

Published: 15 Feb 2019
Directorate:
Justice Directorate
Part of:
Health and social care
ISBN:
9781787816008

We are seeking your views on proposals to improve forensic medical services for victims of rape and sexual assault.

44 page PDF

475.1 kB

44 page PDF

475.1 kB

Contents
Equally Safe: consultation on legislation to improve forensic medical services for victims of rape and sexual assault
Chapter 1: Introduction

44 page PDF

475.1 kB

Chapter 1: Introduction

Background

1. In 2017-18 there were 2,136 incidents of rape and 119 of attempted rape and 4,826 incidents of sexual assault recorded by the police in Scotland[7]. The victims of sexual violence are predominantly women; the Scottish Government recognises violence against women as a fundamental violation of human rights; a cause and consequence of gender inequality and the attitudes that support it, which is why it is also referred to as gender based violence. The Scottish Government is committed to preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls, whilst providing equal access to services and support for victims who are men and boys.

2. The Equally Safe strategy, published in 2014 and updated in 2016[8], is Scotland's strategy to take action on all forms of violence against women and girls. Equally Safe's vision is of a strong and flourishing Scotland where all individuals are equally safe and respected, and where women and girls live free from all forms of violence and abuse – and the attitudes that help perpetuate it.

3. The Programme for Government 2018-19 includes a commitment to improve the experience of the justice system for victims, a commitment that is particularly important for victims of sexual crime. Improving services for victims of rape and sexual assault is one of the three priority areas for Scotland's Health & Justice Collaboration Board[9].

4. Against this background it is critical that victims of sexual offences receive consistent, person centred, trauma informed healthcare and access to recovery. Part of this healthcare response may include forensic medical services (as described in more detail in Chapter 2). Consistency of services in this context means consistency in the implementation of the Healthcare Improvement Scotland National Standards[10] that are referenced throughout this consultation paper.

5. In March 2017, HMICS published a strategic overview of the provision of forensic medical services to victims of sexual crime. The strategic overview highlighted that services need to improve and, as part of that, suggested that the legal position for aspects of service provision lacked clarity.

6. In April 2017, the Scottish Ministers asked the CMO to chair the CMO Taskforce to provide national leadership and oversight for the improvement of services. The Scottish Government's Programme for Government 2018-19 made a commitment to consult on proposals to clarify in legislation the responsibility for forensic medical services to ensure that access to healthcare, as well as a forensic medical examination for victims of rape and sexual assault, is a NHS priority.

7. HMICS published a progress review in December 2018, which welcomed the progress being made by the CMO Taskforce and the Government's commitment to consult on legislative change[11].

Purpose of this paper

8. This consultation paper takes forward the Programme for Government commitment to consult on legislation to improve forensic medical services for victims of rape and sexual assault. The Programme for Government notes that a Bill (primary legislation) on Forensic Medical Services is likely to form part of the legislative programme for the parliamentary year beginning September 2019.

9. Chapter 2 of this consultation paper explores the functions of Health Boards. Chapter 3 addresses the particular question of the taking and retention of samples together with the associated issue of personal data. Chapter 4 explores victims' human rights including the right to respect for their dignity and access to rehabilitative healthcare. Chapter 5 addresses the particular position of victims who are children or young people, against the background of the Convention on the Rights of the Child[12]. And Chapter 6 seeks evidence to inform various impact assessments the Government proposes to carry out.


Contact

Email: Keir.Liddle@gov.scot