Scottish experts help Greek authorities train on handling serious sex assault cases

Scottish expertise is helping Greek authorities establish how best to deal with serious sexual assault cases, the UK’s Ambassador to Greece has said.

Matthew Lodge praised authorities in Greece for their willingness to work together with UK experts after a delegation of Greek officials visited Glasgow to meet with experts from Police Scotland and the Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis Centre.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is funding the visits with the aim of improving the support offered to British nationals reporting domestic violence in Greece.

UK consular staff supported 57 British victims through rape or sexual assault cases between January 2018 and December 2020.

Mr Lodge said: “People can be proud that the Greek authorities are using Scotland’s expertise to shape the way they deal with these sorts of cases in future.”

He added: “We are determined to do everything we can to help survivors of domestic abuse, rape and sexual assaults by showcasing the survivor-focused approach used in the UK, particularly Scotland.

“I think the Greek authorities should be applauded for their willingness to work together with us as they strive to improve the way these exceptionally difficult cases are handled.”

The Greek delegation (pictured), which included a deputy prosecutor, four police officers and two psychologists, recently visited Scotland to gain an insight into how gender-based violence is handled there.

They met experts from the Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis Centre, as well as officials from Police Scotland, the National Sexual Crimes Unit and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service during their visit in March.

Police Scotland were also involved in delivering training about domestic violence to another group of Greek delegates who met with the Met and Bedfordshire Police last week.

Mr Lodge heads up almost 100 staff at the UK Embassy in Athens, while there are consular officers in Crete, Rhodes, Corfu and Zakynthos.

He said: “We take our duty to provide the best support for British nationals in distress overseas extremely seriously and both domestic abuse and sexual assault cases are particularly harrowing for our consular staff to deal with.

“It’s a challenging situation for tourists when you have a language barrier to overcome, but we’re hoping that this work will help ensure that British nationals can visit and live in Greece safely and securely and, if anything should happen to them, that they will receive the support they need.”

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