By telling the police what you know you can help solve or stop a crime.
However, you don't need to report a crime to get help from support organisations.
If you choose not to report a crime – or you haven't decided yet – you might find it helpful to talk to someone about your options, what happened to you and how you feel about it.
Victim Support Scotland
Victim Support Scotland gives free and confidential support to victims, witnesses and others affected by crime, including:
- emotional support
- practical help, like assisting with home and personal security
- liaison with other organisations on behalf of victims and witnesses
There are also organisations that give you specialist advice and support depending on the type of crime you've been affected by.
There are organisations that offer emotional and practical support if you don't want to contact the police about domestic abuse, or you haven't decided yet. You don't have to leave your home to get support.
If you're a victim of stalking, this can cause great anxiety and distress. There are a number of organisations you can contact for practical advice and support.
Human trafficking is when someone is brought to (or moved around) a country by people who threaten, frighten, hurt and force them to do work or other things they don't want to do.
Rape or sexual assault
No-one can make you report an assault if you don't want to. There are organisations that can help if you don't want to contact the police.
In most countries, you must report the crime before you leave the country if you want it to be investigated. You might need to report the crime to make a claim on your travel insurance.
If you're under 18
If you've been a victim or witness of crime, you might feel worried, angry, or alone. Everyone is affected by crime in their own way, and different crimes can affect people differently too.
You can get support to cope, whether you decide to tell the police what happened or not.
Get help and support if you're a victim of online crime (like cyberbullying, fraud or stalking) or need to know more about how you can protect yourself.
You can get support if a crime is committed against you because of your disability, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, religion or beliefs.
If you were abused as a child, it's important to know that what happened to you was not your fault. You can get support whether or not the abuse was reported to the police, even if it was a long time ago.
You can tell the police if someone shares an intimate image of you without your consent. This is sometimes called 'revenge porn' or 'the non-consensual sharing of intimate images'.
If you're unsure about talking to the police, there are lots of people you can trust who can help you work out what to do.
Forced marriage is when you face physical, emotional or psychological pressure to marry. It is against the law to force someone into a marriage or civil partnership, and help is available from the police.
However, civil protection through a Forced Marriage Protection Order is also an option. Support organisations can give you help and confidential advice if you want to talk about what to do next.