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Get support as a victim or witness of crime
Find out what emotional support and practical information is available if you have been the victim of crime.
You have the right to use victim support services, even if the crime has not been reported to the police.
Support after a crime
Victim Support Scotland
Whether you decide to report a crime or not – or you have not decided yet – Victim Support Scotland can give you emotional and practical help and support.
Victim Support Scotland
Phone: 0800 160 1985 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm)
Find out about call charges
If you report a crime, the police – with your permission – may pass on your details to Victim Support Scotland.
The police will check how you want to be contacted if it's not appropriate that Victim Support Scotland contact you at home.
Victim Support Scotland gives free and confidential support to victims, witnesses and others affected by crime, including:
practical help, like help filling in forms for insurance and assisting with home and personal security
liaison with other organisations on behalf of victims and witnesses
advice about going to court or being a witness
recommending other organisations that can help you
Victim Information and Advice (VIA)
You may be introduced to a Victim Information and Advice (VIA) officer if it's likely your case is going to result in criminal charges against someone and it involves:
- domestic abuse
- child victims or witnesses
- hate crime
- sexual crime
They'll give you information about the criminal justice system, keep you informed about the progress of the case and put you in touch with other organisations that can help you.
Support for children and young people
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.
If you're worried about giving evidence at court, you can get support to help you feel better about telling the court what you know.
Your rights – the Victims' Code
As a victim of crime you have rights. The Victims' Code for Scotland sets out these rights and who to contact for help and advice.
Read more about the Victims' Code for Scotland.
Support at court
If you're asked to be a witness
The Witness Service is provided by trained Victim Support Scotland staff and volunteers at all high court and sheriff court locations. They can:
- give you practical help and information on what happens at court
- arrange for you to visit the court before the trial starts – so you know what to expect
Find out more about what happens when you're a witness at court and what you'll be asked to do.
Help to give your best evidence
Some witnesses – because of their circumstances or the nature of the crime – may be able to get extra support when they give evidence.
Find out more about giving evidence at court, including 'special measures' for vulnerable witnesses.
If you're not asked to be a witness
If you're a victim of crime but have not been called to give evidence as a witness, you might not be informed about the trial. However, you can ask for information about what happens with the case at court.
What happens after a crime – the criminal justice system
If you have been a victim or witness of a crime, you may have contact with a number of organisations and people who work in the criminal justice system – like the police, courts, and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
Find out what happens at each stage of the criminal justice process
Dealing with the media
The media may be interested in your story as a victim or witness of crime.
You may be eligible for compensation if you or someone you know has been hurt in a violent crime.
I've been affected by...
Find advice and practical information if you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse, including links to support organisations and what happens if you decide to report it.
If you or someone you care for has been bereaved by a murder or culpable homicide, there are a number of organisations that can offer you support and advice.
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 do not want to do.
Rape or sexual assault
If you've been raped or sexually assaulted, you're not to blame. The police and support organisations are there to help.
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.
A road crash
The aftermath of a serious road crash can be devastating. If you've lost someone close to you or have been badly injured, you may be affected physically, practically or emotionally.
The Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA) has a victim information service. This helps people affected by crime committed by young people.
Get help and support if you're a victim of online crime (like fraud, cyberbullying or stalking) or need to know more about how you can protect yourself.
Crimes committed against someone because of their disability, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, religion or belief are hate crimes and should be reported to the police. Find out what emotional and practical support is available.
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.
Intimate image sharing
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.
Support if someone shares your intimate picture without permission
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 and support organisations.
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