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National Standards for Forensic Examination

The Scottish Government has recently announced that new nationwide standards are to be introduced to ensure consistent delivery of forensic medical examinations for victims of sexual violence.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland has been commissioned to produce the standards, which will ensure best practice is applied when examining victims following a rape or sexual assault – including the conditions and way examinations are handled.

According to the Government, the new standards will build on the good work of the National Coordinating Network for Forensic Medical Services and put beyond doubt what is expected in the delivery of care for victims. It will also ensure NHS boards are clear in their role, helping ensure greater consistency throughout the country.

The announcement comes as a survey is issued to find out what more can be done to encourage more female doctors to get involved in this field of work. The Scottish Government and NHS Education for Scotland are working in partnership to gather information on the perceptions and concerns of female doctors.

“It is important that victims of sexual violence feel confident coming forward, knowing they are going to be supported every step of the way, including forensic examination,” explained Justice Secretary Michael Matheson.

“While the way evidence is gathered and recorded is a top priority for the legal process, it must be balanced with the needs of victims, who may be vulnerable and traumatised,” he said. “Therefore I am pleased Healthcare Improvement Scotland are developing new national standards – an important step in ensuring a consistent and sympathetic service.”

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If you have been charged with a crime of sexual violence, or any other criminal offence, then contact our specialist criminal defence lawyers today.

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