§ 66. Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Home Department if there has been any change in Metropolitan police procedures which encourage victims of rape to report to the police; and what has been the effect of such changes.
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
The Metropolitan police have taken a number of initiatives to improve procedures for dealing with rape victims. These include a special training scheme for police officers in sexual offences investigation technique; police assistance in the training of victim support scheme volunteers for the long-term counselling of rape victims; advice about birth control methods; and arrangements for victims to receive priority appointments318W at a number of hospitals with clinics specialising in sexually transmitted diseases. Disposable sterile clothing has been introduced for victims whose own clothing is taken for examination, and the police intend to open a number of special "victim examination suites" with shower facilities for the victims of rape and serious sexual assault. It is hoped to introduce the first of these in Brentford shortly.
No evidence is available as to whether these changes have affected the number of offences reported.