New premises for Tayside forensic medical services

Tuesday 4th June 2019

Tayside healthcare and forensic medical service has officially opened new premises in Dundee that will help support adults who have experienced rape or sexual assault.

The new dedicated multi-agency service means adults who have experienced these crimes no longer have to attend a police station.

An individual will be able to access healthcare and a forensic medical examination in an NHS facility and can have their police interview in less intimidating surroundings.

The Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Dr Catherine Calderwood, chairs a national taskforce for the improvement of healthcare and forensic medical examination services for victims of sexual crime.

Funding from the group supported this new facility and to recruit a dedicated nurse to coordinate and support a survivor’s onward care and recovery.

Developed by Angus health and social care partnership and NHS Tayside in partnership with the women’s rape and sexual abuse centre Dundee & Angus, the rape and sexual abuse centre Perth & Kinross (RASAC P&K) and Police Scotland, the new facility has been designed to be as comfortable as possible for those who have experienced rape or sexual assault.

A survivor who had previously attended Dundee Police Station in West Bell Street recently visited the new suite and said the new facility would help support those who have experienced these crimes.

“The new facility is bright, spacious and less intimidating. I feel that it is a massive improvement and although it cannot make any incident less traumatic, it is a safe place and will make the whole process that little bit easier. 

“The new facility is separate to the police station which means that if an incident occurs you’re able to have the medical/forensic aspect done and then you’re completely in control. There is no pressure, they will support you in your choices and should you decide you want to report the crime you have the forensics there when you’re ready.”

Jillian Galloway, head of prison healthcare, out of hours and forensic & custody healthcare, said:

“The new forensic medical facility, which has been supported by funding from the Scottish Government, allows examinations of victims of sexual crime to take place away from Police premises.

“…The new premises provide a truly person-centred approach to support individuals who are victims of sexual crime.”

Jen Stewart of RASAC P&K added: “We are extremely pleased that this new premises is now open. Having supported many survivors over the years who have been through the reporting process, we know that being able do so out with a Police station is a far better option for survivors in the aftermath of an assault.

“We recognise how difficult a time this is for people and are pleased that Tayside is in a position to make a very difficult situation as survivor-centred as possible. We have valued the opportunity to be part of this partnership and welcome all developments over the last few months, including the extension to the SARN service.”

In Tayside, if someone experiences rape or sexual assault and does not feel ready to report it to the Police, they can access the Sexual Assault Referral Network (SARN).

The dedicated phoneline (0300 365 2001) which is available every day until midnight allows people to directly contact a support worker who will offer support, access to health services such as emergency contraception and screening for sexually transmitted infections.

 

Pictured: Angela Cunningham, head of service for Tayside forensic and custody healthcare services and Jen Stewart, centre manager of the rape and sexual abuse centre Perth & Kinross