Rape victims’ support is in place, says NHS

Ongoing efforts are being made to ensure isles residents who suffer from rape or sexual assault are given appropriate support.

NHS Shetland’s director of nursing and acute services, Kathleen Carolan, has spoken after a report was released this week.

The Progress Review of Forensic Medical Services to Victims of Sexual Crime was published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland.

The report raised concerns that children had to be flown from the Northern Isles to Aberdeen before being forensically examined.

However, Ms Carolan has highlighted measures which have been in place since early this year.

“NHS Shetland has been working closely with partner organisations to develop a clear pathway to support people in Shetland who have experienced rape or sexual assault which has been in place since February 2018,” she said.

“That includes putting in place a facility at the Gilbert Bain Hospital which is a quiet and private space where an examination can take place and support can be provided.

“We have a number of staff who have completed specific training in trauma support and recovery and there are more staff who will be trained early next year.”

She added Scottish government funding would be used to ensure the health board has both medical and nursing staff available who “have the necessary training to provide medical care and trauma support in Shetland”.

“The impact of sexual abuse can have a devastating impact on a person’s life and so we want to ensure that we can offer the right emotional, psychological and physical support in Shetland.

“That is why we are working closely with NHS Grampian to ensure that we can provide forensic medical input as needed and reduce the need for people to travel to specialist centres on the mainland and building the good links we already have with Shetland Rape Crisis.”


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