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.”

Additional Information

Visit NHS Inform, contact the sexual assault self-referral phone service  on 0800 148 88 88 (24/7) or watch the video here.