We read with great interest the article regarding rape and sexual
assault by Jan Welch and Fiona Mason.1 The article outlined the extent of
sexual assault and the importance of provision of accessible medical and
psychological support services in a safe environment in addition to
In 2006 the Scottish Executive approved and released funding for a
three year pilot project to provide sexual assault services in
collaboration with NHS, police and local authority for the geographical
area of NHS Greater Glasgow. A stakeholder steering group was established
that approved and oversaw the establishment of a working model of a sexual
assault referral centre known as Archway. Archway provides forensic
services to complainer are who self present or present via the police or
other agencies within seven days of an incident. There is the option of
storage of forensic samples at Archway for those initially uncertain
regarding police engagement. In addition to forensic services, immediate
medical care for minor injuries, emergency contraception and STI
prophylaxis are available. Support services, follow up STI screening and
counseling are also available through the service.
Archway became operational on 16th April 2007. To date there have been 23
cases, the majority (87%) female in the age range 20 – 36 years. In
contrast to many studies the majority of services users alleged assault by
strangers (80%)2, this may reflect the majority of referrals having been
police referrals (85%). Of the 3 cases not initially engaging with police
only one has subsequently engaged. There have been no STIs diagnosed to
date3. Support worker allocation is offered to all attendees to provide
advocacy, support and advice during the initial twelve weeks following an
assault. There has been uptake of support by six individuals. Even at such
an early stage there are investigative results with four charges being
made and nine enquiries continuing.
A formal evaluation is being funded by the Scottish Executive
allowing monitoring of service provision. An important element of this
evaluation process is user involvement. Accessible data is proving to be a
great motivator in feeding back to staff the early outcomes of their work.
Ultimately, it is envisaged that the increasing use of supportive services
like Archway, will enhance disclosure rates and minimize the long term
sequelae associated with sexual violence4,5.
Deborah Wardle, Ambreen Butt
Lead Consultants Archway
1. Welch J , Mason F., BMJ 2007;334;1154-1158
2. Walby S, Allen J. Domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking:
findings from the British Crime Survey. London: Home Office research,
Development and Statistics Directorate, 2004.
3. Gibb AM, McManus T, Forster GE. Should we offer antibiotic prophylaxis
post sexual assault? Int J STD AIDS 2003;14:99-102.
4. Kilpatrick DG, Saunders BE, Amick-McMullen A, Best CL, Veronen LJ,
Resnick HS. Victim and the crime factors associated with the development
of crime-related post traumatic stress disorder. Behav Ther 1989;20:199-
5. Resick PA, Calhoun, KS, Atkeson BH, Ellis EM. Social adjustment in
sexual assault victims. J Consult Clin Psychol 1981;49:705-12.