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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-14930: Kezia Dugdale (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 27 February 2018

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of recent NSPCC research, published in its report, Right to Recover, which found a lack of specialist help for children following sexual abuse in most local authority areas and that services that do exist are fragile, insecure and unable to meet demand, what action it is taking to provide a consistent and coordinated approach to provision and ensure that services can meet demand.

Answered by: Maree Todd 13 March 2018

Child centred, trauma informed, health care is at the heart of the current paediatric services provided to children in Scotland who experience sexual assault. The 3 Managed Clinical Networks for services related to child protection and child abuse have agreed standards for service delivery.

The Chief Medical Officer chairs the Taskforce for improving services for adults and children who have experienced rape and sexual assault. The national leadership provided by the Taskforce brings together experts from health, justice, social work and the third sector. In respect of children, the remit of this Taskforce is focussed on developing the clinical pathway to ensure that children who have experienced sexual assault, as well as those close to them, are appropriately supported through their initial disclosure and forensic medical examination, through to the timely onward referral to other healthcare or follow up services. It is also committed to exploring how forensic medical examination services and paediatric health care provided by the NHS for children who have experienced sexual assault, can contribute to any multi-agency service developments in respect of the Barnahus concept and principles.

The Scottish Government has established an expert group for preventing sexual offending involving children and young people and will bring together professional and academic expertise from across justice, education, child protection, health and the third sector to identify actions to better prevent sexual crime involving children and young people and mitigate the harm it causes. It will build on existing good work across Government and through partners.

NHS Education Scotland is leading the development of a National Trauma Skills and Knowledge Framework and National Training Framework, which will support the strategic planning and delivery of training for those who have contact with people affected by trauma across all parts of the Scottish Workforce. The Framework is designed to support the recognition of learning and development needs in the workforce and support trainers and managers in meeting them. It details the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure that people affected by trauma can access services that understand and can respond to their needs.

We have established a Child Protection Improvement Programme to ensure effective protection is in place for all children at risk from abuse and neglect. The Programme includes work on neglect, child sexual exploitation, internet safety, child trafficking, leadership and workforce development, joint inspections, data and evidence and the Children’s Hearings System.

Protecting children and young people from all forms of abuse is a priority for the Scottish Government, as set out in current national policy and legislation. We are committed to working with partners nationally, locally and with support services.