Local Lead for Sexual Assault Support Services Features in New National Campaign
NHS Forth Valley’s Sexual Assault Service Lead features in a new marketing campaign to ensure people know about a dedicated national NHS service that offers choices in healthcare, forensic examination and support after a rape or sexual assault.
Hazel Somerville, NHS Forth Valley’s Gender-Based Violence & Sexual Assault Service Lead, features in a new video, to highlight the role of a new national service which enables anyone aged 16 and over to self-refer for a forensic health examination at a Sexual Assault Response Coordination Service (SARCS), whether or not they wish to report to the police.
The campaign encourages people who have experienced a sexual crime to visit the NHS Inform website (www.nhsinform.scot/sarcs) for advice, including details of a sexual assault self-referral phone service which can be contacted free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0800 148 88 88. This service can refer you to a local specially trained healthcare professional at a sexual assault response co-ordination service who can help to arrange the care you might need.
Hazel Somervile added: “Improving healthcare services for victims of sexual offences is a priority for NHS Forth Valley and we were one of the first NHS Boards in Scotland to develop a dedicated local centre called The Meadows where we are able to carry out forensic medical examinations and provide support to local people who have experienced a rape or sexual assault.”
“With the launch of the new national self-referral service we can now offer local services, including a medical examination, to people who have experienced a rape or sexual assault without them having to report it to the police first be referred by a GP or other healthcare professional.”
Sandy Brindley, Chief Executive of Rape Crisis Scotland said: “This is a huge step forward in improving responses to rape in Scotland. Immediately following rape or sexual assault can be a really difficult time to make a decision about whether to report what has happened to the police, but there are time limits involved in being able to capture forensic evidence. Self-referral means that if someone doesn’t feel ready to make the decision about reporting they can ensure all the evidence is captured and make the decision when they are ready.”