Clinical Pathways and Guidance for Healthcare Professionals Working to Support Adults who Present Having Experienced Rape or Sexual Assault in Scotland

Closed 4 Feb 2019

Opened 31 Oct 2018

Feedback updated 10 Dec 2020

We asked

We asked for views and feedback on the ‘Clinical Pathway for Healthcare Professionals Working to Support Adults who Present Having Experienced Rape or Sexual Assault in Scotland’. The consultation ran for 14 weeks, between 31 October 2018 and 4 February 2019.

You said

We received 53 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 subgroup.

There was broad support for pathway and responses also highlighted areas for further clarification and detail. Some areas of review were suggested.

We did

The responses to this consultation were carefully considered and have informed the finalisation of the Adult 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 with lived experience and professionals, on the clinical pathways and guidance for healthcare professionals working to support adults who present having experienced rape or sexual assault in Scotland.

It outlines:

  • processes for supporting the immediate health and wellbeing of individuals.
  • processes for initiating recovery using trauma informed practice.
  • guidance on how to assess and manage clinical risk, ongoing safety and the provision of ongoing support and follow up.
  • processes for collection of forensic evidence, if required.
  • the legal framework and policy context in Scotland.
  • processes for providing evidence for judicial purposes.

Why your views matter

The Chief Medical Officer's vision is for consistent, person centred, trauma informed healthcare and forensic medical services and access to recovery for anyone who has experienced rape or sexual assault in Scotland. The findings of this consultation are a key part to how this vision will be delivered.

Please see below to download the consultation document. The individual sections of the consultation document have also been included at the bottom of this page for ease of navigation.

Download the consultation paper.

Please note, Section 7 includes details of clinical and forensic examination and is particularly relevant to professionals.  Please be aware that some readers may find sections distressing.

If you have been affected by any of the issues covered by our draft pathway support and advice services are available from the organisations listed below:

Rape Crisis Scotland - Telephone: 08088 01 03 02 -

Scottish Women’s Aid – Telephone: 0800 027 1234 -

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.


  • Health and Social Care