Thursday 11 May
Forensic Medical Services
The current health and justice response for victims of rape and sexual assault in Scotland is to be transformed.
The commitment was made by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson as part of an update to parliament on the newly established Taskforce for the Improvement of Services for Victims of Rape and Sexual Assault – led by Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Catherine Calderwood.
The taskforce will work alongside Healthcare Improvement Scotland who will be undertaking a Scotland-wide consultation on new standards for forensic examinations for victims of sexual assault throughout the summer. Responses will help shape the Taskforce’s work plan and ensure that views from across Scotland, including remote and island communities, are fully considered as work moves forward.
National Standards will be published by the end of the year.
You can find out more here: https://beta.gov.scot/policies/violence-against-women-and-girls/
Today, more than 94,000 Scots are actively involved in a civic link with Malawi and some 46% of all Scots can name a friend or family member personally involved.
The Scotland Malawi Partnership is the national umbrella agency which coordinates, represents and supports these many civic links. It has more than 900 member organisations, not just NGOs but also 200 Scottish schools, every Scottish university, half Scotland’s local authorities and hundreds of churches, businesses, colleges, hospitals, diaspora and community groups.
I had the chance to visit their “Scotland, Malawi and the Global Goals” exhibition in the Parliament this week.
They were inviting MSPs to be photographed with one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which stands out for them and which they can help champion I chose clean water and sanitation.
Representatives from Stepchange debt charity were in the Scottish Parliament this week to discuss the assistance they can offer to constituents facing debt problems.
Wherever you live in Scotland, StepChange Debt Charity Scotland can help you, providing free debt advice tailored to your individual circumstances.
Whatever your situation, their expert advisors will be able to help. They will look at your individual circumstances, work out a manageable budget and provide you with specifically tailored advice that will help you deal with your debts and get you back on track.
You can find out more on their website at https://www.stepchange.org/DebtadviceinScotland.aspx
The Care Inspectorate were exhibiting in the Parliament and I took the opportunity to have a chat with them about their work.
Set up by the Scottish Government the Care Inspectorate regulates and inspects care services in Scotland to make sure that they meet the right standards. They also jointly inspect with other regulators to check how well different organisations in local areas work to support adults and children.
It is the Care Inspectorate’s job to assure and protect everyone that uses these services. They work to make sure that everyone gets safe, high quality care that meets their needs.
And if services are not meeting these needs the Inspectorate will work with them to improve their service.
You can find out more about the Care Inspectorate at http://www.careinspectorate.com/index.php/about-us
Promoting public safety and preventing and detecting crime are the main aims of a new code of practice on stop and search powers.
In use from this week, the code was developed with an expert group led by John Scott QC, and received widespread public support during consultation and was unanimously approved by the Scottish Parliament.
The code sets out that use of powers must be necessary, proportionate and in accordance with the law and recognises that specific guidance on dealing with children and vulnerable adults is required.
You can access the code here: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/01/5821
Make May Purple for stroke is our annual stroke awareness month, taking place every May. Friends, families and communities are invited to show their support for people who have been affected by stroke.
By supporting Make May Purple, you can help the Stroke Association invest in research that will help to save lives and enable stroke survivors to make the best possible recovery – giving more people more of their lives back.
Stroke has been a clinical priority for the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland for more than 15 years. Over that time there have been significant improvements in the quality of stroke care, which has contributed to a reduction in the number of deaths from stroke.
Get involved with Make May Purple and help to change the story for stroke survivors. For more information go to https://www.stroke.org.uk/fundraising/make-may-purple
Congratulations go to local cultural hub The Tron Theatre and the Changing House on securing almost £40,000 from the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund. The funding will go towards a refurbishment programme.
I lodged the following motion in parliament highlighting their successful application:
That the Parliament congratulates the Tron Theatre on securing almost £40,000 of funding from the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund; understands that the award will be used to refurbish the theatre’s Changing House, including the fitting of air conditioning, new seating and redecoration; welcomes this investment for one of Glasgow’s cultural hubs, which has been producing and presenting an eclectic programme of work for over 20 years in the 16th century Tron Kirk building, and wishes the Tron Theatre and the Changing House continued success.
A wide-ranging package of measures designed to improve animal welfare has been announced, alongside the introduction of a bill to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.
The bill prohibits the use of any wild animal in a travelling circus in Scotland on ethical grounds.
Setting out a number of measures to strengthen animal welfare legislation, Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, also confirmed the Scottish Government will:
- Introduce measures to require the registration or licensing of animal shelters and rehoming activities
- Update regulations governing the licensing of dog, cat and rabbit breeding and dealing, including the irresponsible breeding and sale of these animals
- Modernise the legislation on performing animals other than in circuses
- Introduce tight controls restricting the use of electronic training collars
- Review the penalties available for animal welfare offences
- Lay legislation permitting vets to shorten the tails of spaniels and hunt point retrievers intended for use as working dogs to reduce the number of tail injuries suffered.
I had no hesitation in offering my support to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals rehoming campaign which is running from 8 – 14 May.
The campaign is a chance for the SSPCA to let people know about the benefits of rehoming an animal from their care. Last year they rehomed almost 6,000 pets but their centres are still full of animals looking for their forever home.
You can help them spread the message that #RescuePetsMakeGreatPets and shout about Scottish SPCA Rehoming Week 2017 on social media.Snap a picture of you with the template, with or without your furry friend, and share it on Twitter, Facebook or InstagramRemember to include #RescuePetsMakeGreatPets and @ScottishSPCA so they can share it too.
For more information on rehoming a pet from the Scottish SPCA please visit the rehoming page at https://www.scottishspca.org/rehome/
Scottish Thistle Awards
Nominations are now open for the Scottish Thistle Awards 2017/18. Glasgow won last year with the 2015 FIG World Gymnastics Championships in the Best Sporting Event category.
However, I am sure many of you will agree that there are many other worthy nominees across the city and I would encourage you to take the time to nominate, whether that’s a sporting event or a cultural event or a Special Commendation award.
For more information go to https://www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk/nominate/
These awards celebrate recurring events that are part of Visit Scotland’s ongoing tourism offering which, include, inspire and involve all participants, whether local or visiting, and provide a platform for Scotland to show off its greatest features.