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NHS Lothian’s Gender Based Violence Service has been launched to provide specialist care to these victims, and raise awareness of the impact of this form of violence on adults, young people and children across Lothian and Scotland.
A major focus of the programme will be to support those who have experienced trauma as a result of gender based violence, in particular sexual assault or rape, and to support the long term health, wellbeing and recovery of individuals.
Dzidzai Chipuriro, clinical nurse manager at NHS Lothian’s Gender Based Violence Service, said: “Sexual violence, assault or rape can happen to anyone and the long term impacts on individuals and their communities can be devastating. Having a dedicated service in place to provide support, advice and specialist care is a critically important step in both promoting and enabling recovery.”
The service will also enable the gathering of evidence for use in associated criminal justice processes.
Specially trained forensic practitioners will combine personal care for victims with skilled forensic work to collect evidence while protecting the person, the treatment room and the case.
Chipuriro added: “Our teams are trained to provide specialist care, ensuring that individuals feel safe, respected and listened to. The service will be tailored to each individual’s needs and specific concerns with comprehensive support covering all aspects of physical health, mental health and wellbeing available either through the service or with the many partner organisations that we work with.
“The roots of gender based violence are deeply embedded within society. These attitudes can have a significant impact on people who experience gender based violence and can deter them from seeking help due to fear of judgement. As well as providing care and support, this new service will play a significant role in helping to shift the narrative on gender based violence not just in here in Lothian, but across Scotland.”
Professor Alex McMahon, executive director for nursing, midwifery and allied healthcare professionals at NHS Lothian, said: “I am delighted to launch this new service which I know will play a fundamentally important role in the lives of people who experience gender based violence. Through this service we can provide vital support and the hope of recovery to those who need it.”
The service can accept self-referrals by individuals, as well as referrals from professionals.
Information and support is also available from the following:
A doctor or nurse at your GP surgery
A hospital Emergency Department
Sexual Health clinics
Young people’s services
NHS 24 (dial 111)
In an emergency, dial 999
Rape Crisis Scotland national freephone helpline – 08088 01 03 02 (6pm-midnight). Text is also available on 07537 410 027
Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline – 0800 027 1234 (24 hour service)
Victim Support Scotland – 0800 160 1985 (Monday – Friday, 8am to 8pm)
National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0300 999 5428 or 0800 999 5428