Forbes welcomes landmark law for victims of sexual offences

Skye MSP Kate Forbes, pictured, has welcomed fresh assurances from NHS Highland that a new renal dialysis service on Skye will be 'ready for patients in December'. NO-F-42-KATE-FORBES-SERIOUS-01.jpg

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The constituency MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch has welcomed a landmark law which means that victims of sexual offences can request a forensic medical examination without having to report a crime.

The Forensic Medical Services Bill was passed unanimously by MSPs at the Scottish Parliament this month.

The new legislation places a duty on health boards to give victims direct access to trauma-informed, person-centred forensic medical examination services and to retain certain evidence where a victim is undecided about reporting to the police.

The Bill included a successful amendment from Johann Lamont MSP, which Kate Forbes MSP also voted for, that will allow the survivors of rape and sexual assaults to pick the sex of the person examining them after an attack. Ms Lamont’s amendment passed by 113-9, with one abstention.

Ms Forbes said: ‘This is a very important bill, which I hope will prove to be a source of support for rape survivors.

‘I cannot begin to imagine the trauma and fear of providing forensic evidence after a heinous crime like rape. The changes made by this law have been widely welcomed.

‘One of the most consistent points made by survivors during scrutiny of this bill was the need for women to request a female to carry out any of the necessary procedures. I’m glad that request is now enshrined in law.’

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