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Nurses to be offered training to help rape victims

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Responsibility for forensic medical services should be transferred from the police to the NHS, with doctors and nurses being given advanced training in helping victims of sexual assault, a landmark review has recommended.

The Stern review also suggests that every victim of rape should be offered a choice of a male or female doctor on the NHS.

Baroness Stern added that including forensic physicians in the new NHS clinical governance framework, in addition to recruiting more staff to the role, would vastly improve the levels of service currently offered.

Other suggestions in the report include creating independent sexual violence advisers to act as a link between victims and police, prosecutors and charity groups, and an annual governmental report to Parliament on the progress made in treating victims of sexual abuse.

“Much has changed for the better for rape victims in recent years,” said Baroness Stern. “But in some places there are failures in the implementation of policies, so much of my review focuses on turning policy into action on the ground.

“During my review I came across many examples of the very best practice - what we need is for this best practice to be found everywhere so that every man or woman who reports a rape is properly supported.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • this would be an excellent way forward. i have had several patients who have had either short shrift from the local police station or who have been told that the assault could not have happened because it's not a bad area.
    It is important that training is inclusive of police, courts lawyers and the health service as it is ultimately a criminal offence.

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  • Has the NHS considered looking to other models in countries such as Canada or Sweden?
    All professions involved should work together to firstly study to prevent such atrocity, secondly educate the professions involved to empathize with patients( a priority actually). Learning to empathize was a priority with me in nursing school and should be used in a wide range of professions.

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