Clinical Pathway for Children and Young People who have disclosed sexual abuse

Closed 6 Aug 2019

Opened 5 May 2019

Feedback updated 10 Dec 2020

We asked

We asked for views and feedback on the ‘Clinical pathway for healthcare professionals working to support children and young people who may have experienced child sexual abuse’. The consultation ran for 12 weeks, between 5 May and 6 August 2019.

You said

We received 57 responses from a variety of stakeholders. These included third sector organisations, health organisations, local authorities, and justice agencies. Each comment was considered and responded to by the clinical pathways subgroup.

There was broad support for the pathway and responses highlighted the need for the clinical pathway to reflect the principles of the changing Scottish legislative and policy landscape. Some areas of review were suggested.

We did

The responses to this consultation were carefully considered and have informed the finalisation of the Children and Young People Clinical Pathway, which has been published.

An analysis of the responses to the consultation has been published (where permission has been given) on the Scottish Government website.

Results updated 10 Dec 2020



The consultation is seeking views from people on the clinical pathway for children and young people who have disclosed sexual abuse.

This pathway is relevant for children under 16 years of age (or up to 18 years of age for young people with vulnerabilities and additional support needs).

It outlines:

  • The definition of a child
  • Trauma-informed care
  • The legal context
  • The role of police, social work and healthcare professionals in the process

Why your views matter

The Chief Medical Officer for Scotland chairs a Taskforce to improve forensic medical and healthcare services for victims of rape and sexual assault.

The CMO vision is for consistent, person centred, trauma informed healthcare and forensic medical services and access to recovery for adults, children and young people who have experienced rape or sexual assault in Scotland. The responses to this consultation will help to improve the clinical pathway and are a key part to how this vision will be delivered.

What happens next?

Consultation responses will be analysed by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS). A report will be prepared which will present the analysis of the consultation and of the targeted focus group sessions which will form an additional part to the consultation. The quantitative and qualitative findings will feed into the work of the Chief Medical Officer's Taskforce to improve services for victims of rape and sexual assault in Scotland.

Read the consultation paper.


Reporting abuse

We all have a part to play in preventing the abuse of children. If you are concerned for a child you know, it is important that you report your suspicions. You can contact social services, the police or speak to a doctor, nurse, teacher or community worker.  

If you are an adult concerned about a child, or a child concerned about a child, you can call the 24 hour NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.  

If you are a child or young person who has experienced child sexual abuse, you can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or Stop It Now on 0800 1000 900. 

Police Scotland information on reporting current or historic abuse can be found here:  and 

Support needs

People’s support needs are unique, and can vary at different stages in their life.  

In the immediate aftermath of rape or sexual assault, you may wish to contact Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline on 08088 01 03 02.  

If you are experiencing difficulties coping with the effects of childhood sexual or other forms of abuse, your GP can advise you on the range of services offering support in your area.  

Details on a range of services funded directly by the Scottish Government are provided here: and 

If you experienced abuse while living in care in Scotland, you may be eligible for support from Future Pathways, the Government’s In-Care Survivors Support Fund contactable on 0808 164 2005.


  • Children and Families
  • Communities and Third Sector
  • Education
  • Equality, Welfare and Rights
  • Public Sector
  • Health and Social Care
  • Housing and Regeneration
  • Public Safety and Emergencies