New forensic suite at Fife hospital to help victims of rape and sexual assault

Health officials at the launch of the new forensic suite at Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline, for victims of rape and saexual abuse
Health officials at the launch of the new forensic suite at Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline, for victims of rape and saexual abuse

NHS Fife has opened new forensic suite and medical examinations services for victims of rape or sexual assault.

It is based at Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline.

Over 60 forensic medical examinations are carried out each year, with a further 150 people reporting a rape or sexual assault to the police.

Michael Kellet, director Fife Health and Social Care Partnership said, “Having this new, state of the art healthcare and forensic medical suite will allow those who have gone through the trauma of a rape or sexual assault to be seen in an environment they feel comfortable in, and have access to the services they need.”

The suite consists of three self-contained rooms which include a forensic examination room, sitting room and consulting room.

Heather Bett, clinical services manager, “I’m really proud of all the hard work that partners have put into the new suite.

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“We have worked together closely to ensure we have an environment and services in place that meet the needs of Fifers. The support and funding from Scottish Government, and input from those who have used the service, and local organisations has been instrumental in providing an environment that is modern, comfortable and accessible.”

Jan Swan, Fife Rape and Sexual Assault Centre (FRASAC) welcomed the new facility.

She said: “Having this dedicated suite is a massive milestone.

“We have been working to get this in Fife for many years so it is very emotional to see all the hard work paying off. Ensuring a consistent approach to the quality of medical and healthcare services will help to improve individual wellbeing, reduce the likelihood of further trauma as well as ensuring the timely collection of evidence to support any criminal proceedings.”

There will be additional staff to support the service which includes a new chaperone service led by a care coordinator who will work with victims of rape or sexual assault to ensure there is follow-up care and that access to additional services is co-ordinated.

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Calderwood who attended the opening said: “I am very encouraged by the care and attention to detail that I know has been given to developing a service which puts the needs of the victim first. It is vital that victims of rape or sexual assault are able to access the right support when they need it.

“This is another step forward for the Rape and Sexual Assault Taskforce, which I lead, and was set up to provide more consistent access to services for anyone who has experienced rape or sexual assault in Scotland. Taskforce funding has supported the creation of this new facility and to recruit a dedicated nurse to coordinate and support a survivor’s onward care and recovery.”