Approaching the Police

If you have experienced sexual violence, whether recently or in the past, you may want to consider reporting what has happened to you to the police. People around you may have different views about whether or not you should report to the police but it is important that this is your decision.

All police forces in Scotland have police officers who are specially trained in responding to sexual offences. For details of your nearest specialist police unit which investigates sexual offences – visit Rape Crisis Scotland. This website has a database you can search using your postcode. Alternatively this information is available by phoning the Rape Crisis Scotland helpline on 08088 01 03 02, which is open every day from 6pm – midnight.

If you are thinking of reporting to the police it can be helpful to know:

  • As forensic evidence can be easily lost it is important to report as soon as possible. The timescales for forensic evidence from an internal source are generally within the first 72 hours, however other forensic evidence such as a hair or stains to clothing can be detected for sometimes up to 10 days. However, even if some time has passed or it happened a long time ago, it is still worth speaking to the police.
  • It can take a number of hours to make a report.
  • It can be helpful to ask someone you trust or a Rape Crisis worker to accompany and support you.
  • If the assault has just happened, it is a good idea to take a change of clothes as items may be required as evidence. If you change your clothing following an attack take them with you in a plastic bag as forensic evidence may still be present.

If you are considering reporting what has happened to you to the police and want further information or to talk the decision through with someone, you can contact the Rape Crisis Scotland helpline on 08088 01 03 02.

Further information on what happens when you report a sexual offence – as well as other useful information – can be found here