LETTERS : Welcome initiative for victims of rape

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The Independent Online
From Comdr Tom Williamson Sir: The decision to build a rape suite in King's College Hospital's new Accident and Emergency department (report, 10 January) is wholeheartedly welcomed and supported by the Metropolitan Police Service which is committed to achieving and maintaining the highest standards for the care of victims of sexual offences.

Dr Ed Glucksman, director of the department where the rape suite is to be built, says that hospitals are "more appropriate" places for the examination of victims of sexual offences. This will be true in many cases. However, the 11 very carefully designedvictim examination suites based at police buildings around London have been greatly appreciated by victims for more than 10 years. Police premises offer victims safety and security and are frequently quieter places for their examination, which c an be immensely important for many people going through the traumatic aftermath of such a distressing crime.

We are always improving facilities for victims in the hope that more people will have the confidence to come forward and report these offences. Hillingdon Hospital in west London has run the highly successful Juniper Suite for rape victims since April 1991, and this is an excellent example of the health service and police working together for the benefit of everyone.

Our overriding aim is for victims of sexual assault to come forward, not only to report the crime but also to receive the support they need. To do this we need to ensure they are offered a choice of facilities, staffed by specially trained people. Working together with the health service, we are ensuring that victims of sexual offences get the best possible treatment they need where they feel most comfortable and secure.

Yours sincerely, Tom Williamson Metropolitan Police London, SW1