HMICS Strategic Overview of Provision of Forensic Medical Services to Victims of Sexual Crime

Thursday, 30 March, 2017

The aim of this report is to provide a strategic overview of the forensic medical services provided to adult and child victims of sexual crime, and to give a high-level assessment of these services in terms of their current delivery against national policies and standards. It highlights strategic issues for consideration by key stakeholders, and is intended to inform future scrutiny of this area.

The evidence in this review confirms the need for national standards, and highlights wider issues affecting the quality of service delivered to victims of sexual crime. The review shows that significant disparity in the services currently provided, and supports the need for further investment in healthcare professionals, premises, and equipment. The priority for forensic medical examinations should be to address the immediate health needs and future recovery of patients, with the contribution to potential criminal justice proceedings being a important but not the sole consideration.

We have taken the opportunity to look at how services are provided to victims of sexual crime in other jurisdictions and identified several approaches that may inform future provision in Scotland. These all focus on the health and wellbeing of victims within a supportive healthcare setting.

HMICS has engaged with a wide range of agencies and stakeholders to gather evidence for this review, and we are grateful for all of the advice and information provided. Although our statutory duties primarily relate to Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority, we have included some wider recommendations to other key stakeholders, including the Scottish Government. The motivation for this review and the recommendations is to drive improvement in the services provided to victims of sexual crime in Scotland.

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