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Northern Isles MSPs to discuss forensic facilities with Justice Secretary

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur and Shetland MSP Tavish Scott are to meet with Justice Secretary Michael Matheson tomorrow, Thursday, to discuss forensic facilities for survivors of rape and sexual assault in the islands.

At present, victims must travel to Aberdeen with a police escort in order to undergo forensic examinations, leaving them unable to wash and facing fears that their anonymity will be lost when travelling by ferry or plane.

Both MSPs have highlighted that the ordeal may leave victims less likely to come forward and see their attackers prosecuted.

In February, Ministers announced that a new set of national standards for forensic testing would be commissioned.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr McArthur said: “The new national standards will be welcome, but what both Orkney and Shetland need are the facilities and training to ensure these tests can be offered closer to home.

“Our current Rape Crisis workers do an excellent job in providing support when it is most needed, including to those who don’t wish to report their attackers to the police.

“Long-term investment in facilities and training opportunities here in the islands will ensure a sustainable forensic service for years to come and could make a significant difference to survivors who want to see their perpetrators brought to justice.”