Scarborough nurses to take forensic evidence from rape victims
Rape victims in North Yorkshire will be able to have forensic evidence taken by nurses even if the crime has not been reported to the police.
Nurses in Scarborough have been trained by the police to take vital evidence and store it confidentially.
If the victim decides to report the crime at a later date, the evidence can be used in a prosecution.
About 530 cases of rape and sexual assault were reported to North Yorkshire Police last year.
NHS North Yorkshire and York said the service was the first of its kind in the county.'Affecting lives'
Nicky Milner, a nurse at the Castle Health Centre, said: "We hope that people feel that they're able to report a crime, and that if they don't want to report it straight away they have the option to report it later.
"I'd like to see a lot more people using the service, not sitting at home and making it affect their lives."
A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said the force had made "significant improvements" in the way it provided help and support for rape and sexual assault victims over the last 12 to 18 months.
The service has been funded by the Department of Health at a cost of £30,000. It will run as a pilot project until June, when it will be re-evaluated.