Equality Impact Assessment – Results
Title of Policy
The Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Bill
Summary of aims and desired outcomes of Policy
The Scottish Government wishes to make sure that timely healthcare support, including a forensic medical examination, is available to victims of rape and sexual assault, and child sexual abuse, whether or not they have reported the crime to the police.
Directorate: Division: team
Population Health Directorate: Health Improvement Division: Health and Justice Collaboration Unit
Work was carried out to assess impacts in terms of eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; advancing equality of opportunity; and promoting good relations among and between different groups. The evidence base for the following protected characteristics was reviewed and assessed: age, disability, sex, pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, race, religion and belief, and marriage and civil partnership.
The policy background to the Bill and further information about the role of the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland’s rape and sexual assault Taskforce (CMO Taskforce), is fully described in the Policy Memorandum published on the Scottish Parliament’s website. Chapter 6 of the consultation analysis paper describes the consultation responses sent to the Scottish Government on equalities matters https://www.gov.scot/publications/analysis-responses-equally-safe-consultation-legislation-improve-forensic-medical-services-victims-rape-sexual-assault/pages/7/.
The scope of the EQIA
The full EQIA process has been followed given the equality impacts of the policy area, and the interest from equalities groups in this area.
Positive impacts have been identified for the protected characteristics of age, disability, sex, pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment, religion and belief, and sexual orientation. The particular proposal to introduce self-referral across Scotland is considered to be of particular benefit to different types of victim. No negative impacts have been identified arising out of the Bill’s provisions specifically. There is currently a limited evidence base for the protected characteristics of race and of marriage and civil partnership, in the context of the Bill.
Recommendations and Conclusion
The Bill as introduced protects the positive impacts identified. The Bill has been drafted in gender neutral language and gives all types of victims the same legal rights to access care. The work of the CMO Taskforce to implement coordinated data collection across Scotland will help to improve the evidence base for continuous improvement of services in future.