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News | Forensic Medical Examination Statement and Social Media Break

Forensic Medical Examination Statement and Social Media Break

We are delighted that the Forensic Medical Services Bill has passed its third and final stage.

For many years we have been making the case for improved responses to survivors of rape and sexual assault, forensic and otherwise. Survivors deserve to be treated with compassion and dignity without exception and should be able to expect consistent communication.

Introducing self-referral in Scotland is a vital step towards ensuring survivors have as much control over their own experience as possible. No-one should ever be pressured or coerced into reporting sexual violence and having the ability to capture and safely store potential evidence without having to commit to reporting is necessary and important.

We are proud to have worked alongside the Survivor Reference Group in shaping this Bill and we are grateful to them for their work. Members give their time because they want organisations and institutions to learn from their experiences. They rightly want make sure that other survivors are able to expect compassion and best practice from the institutions that are supposed to protect all of us.

We share and echo the concerns voiced by multiple MSPs and individuals about the lack of female doctors; we must be clear that the amendment accepted will not change this. The right to request a female examiner is all very well, but until there are enough female examiners available across Scotland the ability to access one is a matter of location and chance. This is not good enough; work to prioritise recruitment of female examiners has to be an urgent priority.

In recent days we have been subject to an onslaught of abuse on social media, that has been very, very difficult. There is a clear difference between criticism of a policy position and the sort of intimidation, harassment and vitriol that we have been subject to. To protect staff wellbeing we will be taking a break from social media until further notice.

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