A CHARITY has said the defence used by Alex Salmond's legal team "risks turning the clock back" on progress "towards a better conversation about sexual violence."

Rape Crisis Scotland issued the statement after Alex Salmond was acquitted of 13 charges of sexual assault.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond trial: Former First Minister cleared of attempted rape and a series of sexual assaults

The statement said: "This will be a really difficult day for many survivors who have been following this case.

"Regardless of the verdict, the detailed descriptions and court coverage has been triggering and very hard for many people. As the volume and nature of calls to our helpline show, whenever there are public conversations about sexual crimes, survivors are listening.

READ MORE: SNP MPs call for 'resignations' and party inquiry after Alex Salmond acquitted

"We fear that the nature of the defence in this case...risks turning the clock back on any progress we have made moving towards a better conversation about sexual violence."

It added: "In amongst the noise we cannot forget that it takes a great deal of courage and bravery to report any kind of sexual crime.

"The vast majority of survivors don’t even see a court room, let alone justice, and today like every day we stand firm in our belief in survivors.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon faces 'profound questions of integrity' after Alex Salmond acquittal

"Our message today and every day is to all survivors of sexual harassment, assault and abuse. We believe you.

"You are not alone and there are so many people on your side. To those women who had the courage to report and speak in court, thank you.

"Our helpline is open 08088 01 03 02 from 6pm - midnight for anyone affected, or you can email support@rapecrisisscotland.org.uk."