Healthcare professionals have been asked to give their views on how care and support can be best provided for child victims of sexual abuse.
A new consultation will aim to help inform Scotland’s first clinical pathway in providing guidance and resources for professionals supporting children and young people who have disclosed sexual abuse, and those who care for them.
The pathway will set out the journey that a child should take through the healthcare service, and the high standard of care, information and support they should expect to receive.
It will be used by NHS boards, local authorities and integrated joint boards to support them to deliver high quality services to children and young people.
The pathway will be applicable to the care of children and young people aged less than 16, or up to 18 years for those with vulnerabilities and additional support needs, who have disclosed sexual abuse of any kind.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said that establishing a pathway would help to ensure that all children who have suffered abuse are cared for.
“It is absolutely essential that any child or young person who has suffered sexual abuse is given all the support and care they need,” said Ms Freeman.
“The health service has a vital role to play in this, so it’s important we get this right.
“By establishing a national clinical pathway we can make sure that healthcare professionals have the guidance and information they need to make sure that every single child is properly cared for.”
Dr Catherine Calderwood, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, said: “This clinical pathway is an important part of our wider work to improve services for victims of sexual assault and abuse across Scotland.
“The care we provide to every single child and young person in this situation has to be of the very highest standard.
“I would call on all healthcare professionals who work with young victims to share their views and expertise through this consultation.”