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£8.5 million investment into services for victims of rape and sexual assault

The Scottish Government has announced £8.5 million in funding over three years to improve services for sexual crime victims, such as forensic medical examinations.

How will the money be distributed?

In this financial year (2018/19), £2.5 million of the investment will be used to recruit workforce, supply specialist training and create facilities. A further £3 million will then be provided during 2019/20 and the final £3 million in 2020/21.

This funding will support the work of the Government’s Rape and Sexual Assault Victims Taskforce which was set up in 2017 after a critical watchdog report on the quality of forensic medical services available for victims of sexual crimes.

Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeane Freeman, stated that:

“Compassionate healthcare and support should be as close as possible to the point of need. Our Taskforce is driving improvement in this important area and they are on track with their five year plan.”

Freeman went on to praise the progress of a new forensic unit situated at NHS Forth Valley – which will be known as the Meadows – and is one of the services backed by this year’s £2.5 million funding. Due to open in April 2019, the Meadows has been specifically designed with the needs of its users in mind.

NHS Forth Valley’s Chief Executive, Cathie Cowan, explained:

“It will contain a forensic suite as well as a specialist area to meet the needs of children. It will also have police interview facilities for both children and adults and specially-trained staff to help deal with trauma and provide ongoing support.”

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