Local MSP Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative, and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice, has commented after a report from HMICS on the treatment of victims of sexual assault in Scotland.
The review looked into how victims of sexual crime receive medical attention while forensic evidence is also gathered for possible prosecution.
It found that the services offered in Scotland lagged way behind those in the rest of the UK, and highlighted an urgent need to find appropriate healthcare facilities for forensic medical examinations.
It also mentioned examples of some victims being asked not to wash for a day or more after an assault. Concerns have been raised for some time about the inappropriateness of sexual assault victims in Orkney and Shetland having to be escorted to the mainland without washing prior to being assessed for forensic evidence.
The Scottish Conservatives have said the report must act as a ‘wake-up call’ for the Scottish Government, and asked them to outline how they plan to improve services in the immediate future.
Commenting Douglas Ross said:
“This is a damning report that gives us further insight into the appalling treatment received by victims of sexual assault. It has rightly been a major issue for some time that victims in Orkney and Shetland have to travel to the mainland to undergo forensic tests and are unable to wash after a sexual assault or rape to preserve evidence.”
“These individuals have already been through a traumatic experience, so for them to be treated in this manner is simply inexcusable. I know efforts are ongoing to have forensic testing carried out on the islands again as is done on the Western Isles but this report shows there is still a long way to go to improve the standard of service.”
“Examples highlighted in the report of victims being asked not to wash for over a day after an assault is cruel in the extreme, and the SNP need to use this as a wake-up call.”
“When the facilities in Scotland are described as unacceptable and far worse than those in the rest of the UK, there is no excuse for the catalogue of failings in this report.”
“If we don’t see improvements soon we risk seeing further examples of victims being let down when they need support the most and possibly deterred from reporting their assault.”
Orkney Rape Crisis Service contact details
Sexual violence affects more people in our community that we imagine. Confidential support and advocacy for anyone from age 13. Whether recent or long ago. Whether you report or choose not to. We believe you.
Mon – Fri 9.30-4.30pm
www.orkneyrapecrisis.scot or call
Rape Crisis Scotland Helpline 08088 01 03 02 6pm till midnight
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Douglas Ross, a Tory MSP has a cheek to comment on the NHS in Scotland considering the mess of the Tory managed NHS in England where they are doing their damnedest to undermine the NHS by starving it of funds and by so doing they reduce the money under Barnett coming to Scotland. But we all know that at the heart of this they are setting NHS England up, so that they can have an excuse to carry out more privatisation.
As for victims of rape we know that the current situation is less than acceptable and personally I think that on the fortunately rare cases reported then a qualified medical examiner should be flown in by air ambulance or by chartered aircraft if this is necessary. No victim of rape should have to wait around any longer than absolutely necessary.
But as I said given the Tories track record on health elsewhere, we don’t need any lessons from them, however if he was putting forward realistic suggestions, like telling us he would tell his bosses in LONDON it’s time for an end to this harsh austerity but then pigs might fly..
Politics is not what this is about. I don’t mean to get into an argument with Mr. Gallagher, but the way he launched into his reply here, made my hackles rise. This is NOT about politics. I don’t care tuppence who takes a stand on this issue, as long as someone does.
What it is about, is this……….
I’m not asking anyone to imagine what it would be like to be raped, and, presumably, each attack is different. But……I will ask the reader to take on the idea that some such thing has happened. Very often, once the victim has pulled themselves together ( whether male or female), the first impulse is to wash – to bath or shower, to get rid of the most obvious taint of what has happened. This must bring some relief – to at least feel that they have rid themselves of the ‘presence’ of their assailant, in one way.
Instead of that, imagine that the victim knows that, to have any chance of making their case against their attacker they can’t wash. Instead they have to travel quite some distance, with an escort, to get the forensic testing needed.
This is in-human.
As I said in a previous comment in a previous item on this issue – there are doctors and nurses here, on Orkney and Sheltand. Surely it’s not too much to ask that facilities are available so that those doctors and nurses can respond as quickly as possible when a victim reports an attack.
I’m not going to go on and on about this – the issue is being discussed.
I will ask the reader to place themselves in the position of the person who has been raped – how would you feel? Wouldn’t one of your first instincts be to cleanse yourself of the attack, in at least one way, as soon as possible?
Politics really should be left outside the door here – it’s the people involved that matter.