Support from The Police


We understand that making a report to the police can feel very daunting, and we will not pressure you to do so. Police Scotland take reports of Gender Based Violence seriously, and are committed to treating survivors with respect and dignity. If you decide to make a report to the Police, you can ask for someone from UHI to accompany you. Student Support Teams can help you through this process.

You can report GBV to Police by:

  • Calling 999 in an emergency
  • Calling 101 to report non-urgent concerns, or make general enquiries
  • Visiting the Contact Us page and going to "Online Reporting Forms"
  • Visiting your local police station

Victim Support Scotland provides non-biased information about the process. They also provide services in the rest of the UK and Europe.

The video below explains the process in a trauma-informed way, if you decide to report a rape or sexual assault to Police Scotland. This might be slightly different to reporting other forms of GBV.

What happens next? content

What happens next?

What happens next?

An investigating officer will take an initial report from you - you can ask for this to be a male or female officer, it does not have to be in a police station, and you can take someone with you for support.

If the crime was sexual, a specially trained Sexual Offences Liaison Officer (SOLO) will be assigned to you and they may arrange a medical examination with your consent.

Police Officers will then investigate, carrying out detailed enquiries with any potential witnesses and interviewing the person responsible if possible. This can take some time. When it ends, there are 2 possible options:

  1. if there is insufficient evidence, the case will not be reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and you will be informed of this. You can still access all support services.
  2. if there is sufficient evidence, the Police will send a report to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service who will decide what happens next.

Throughout this time, Police should make you aware of external support services that you can access at any time.

After reporting, if you later do not want to go ahead with a criminal case, your wishes will be taken into account however the police may still continue with the investigation.

The Criminal Justice Process ("Going to Court") content

The Criminal Justice Process ("Going to Court")

The Criminal Justice Process ("Going to Court")

After a police investigation, the Procurator Fiscal will decide on an action. They might decide that the case should go to court, and what type of court.

Court can seem a very daunting process. Victim Support Scotland provide a map to help you learn about this process, FAQs, virtual court room tours, and sometimes practical support. But it's also important to know that as a victim/survivor of a sexual offence, trafficking, domestic abuse, or stalking, you may be entitled to special measures such as not being visible to the accused perpetrator. You may also be able to access an advocacy service to support you through the process, such as Rape Crisis Scotland Advocacy.

If students are going through the court and criminal justice process, we highly encourage them to contact their student support team for help with their studies, wellbeing, and other needs. However, they cannot provide legal advice. Use the links below to find out more information on:

If you are unsure about reporting a rape/sexual assault to the Police content

If you are unsure about reporting a rape/sexual assault to the Police

If you are unsure about reporting a rape/sexual assault to the Police

As well as the alternative support listed on these webpages, you may wish to consider self referral to NHS SARCS. You can phone them for free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0800 148 88 88.

SARCS centres are available throughout Scotland and near most UHI campuses, and can offer you a Forensic Medical Examination (FME). This is best carried out within 7 days of a rape or sexual assault. A healthcare professional will listen to you and work in a trauma-informed way to collect evidence, with your consent, that may assist an investigation if you later choose to report to the police. Whilst you are there, they can also discuss other needs, referrals, and support with you.

Evidence can be kept securely by the centre for 26 months after your appointment - giving you time to decide if you would like to report to the police or not.

Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland (Claire's Law) content

Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland (Claire's Law)

Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland (Claire's Law)

This scheme is sometimes called Claire's Law or The Right To Ask. DSDAS gives individuals the right to ask Police about the background of the person they are in a relationship with, or about a friend or relative’s partner, if they are worried about potential GBV. This can be done online, by post, or by attending your local police station.

If you are in England or Wales, ask your local police about DVADS.

If you are in Northern Ireland, you can also access DVADS.

Reporting anonymously to Crimestoppers content

Reporting anonymously to Crimestoppers

Reporting anonymously to Crimestoppers

Crimestoppers is a charity - they are not run by The Police.

They allow you to share information, big or small, relating to crime such as domestic abuse or rape. You can do this by calling 0800 555 111 or completing their online form.

You provide information completely anonymously - this is 100% guaranteed. You will not be asked for your name or details. The call is not recorded, and or traced. Your computer/mobile phone IP and details cannot be tracked or saved. 

After your call, Crimestoppers create a report of the call and remove any information that might identify you - they then send this to the relevant police force. 

This can be vital in helping Police build information about crime - but because they won't have your details, or be able to contact you, you should not use Crimestoppers if you are the victim/survivor. Instead, you can use it to share information about GBV happening to someone else, if you don't want to report directly to the Police.