Rape Crisis Scotland helpline (5pm-midnight)
08088 01 03 02

Police and legal information

We have collated the following legal information resources for those who have experienced sexual violence:

Rape Crisis Scotland’s leaflet on police and legal advice covers reporting to the police, the accused, precognition investigation, cases to court and sentencing.

They have also produced a video guide, Survivors’ Guide to the Scottish Justice System – this is for anyone who is thinking about reporting a sexual crime or who has already reported and their case is currently in Scottish justice system.

The video includes interviews with key professionals (specially trained police officer, a rape crisis advocacy worker, a Procurator Fiscal, a defence lawyer, an advocate for the prosecution and a judge) and an overview of how to report and what you may expect at each stage of the process.

Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (SWRC)

Legal advice helpline

If you are looking for legal information or advice you can contact the SWRC through their helpline or by appointment at their legal surgeries.

Their helpline is open to women aged 16 years and over living in Scotland who have been affected by violence or abuse. They can also give advice to support workers and other services working with women affected by gender-based violence.

When you call, they can offer initial legal information about your circumstances. If you need more specific legal advice, they recommend that you make an appointment for one of their legal surgeries.

SWRC’s helpline is currently available at the following times:

  • Mondays between 10AM and 12:30PM
  • Tuesdays between 12PM and 3PM
  • Wednesdays between 10AM and 1PM

It is free to call from most mobile phones and landlines.

At times, their helpline can be extremely busy. Please keep trying to get through. Before calling, they also recommend you to check our resources as you might find information there that can assist you.

NHS Scotland’s Sexual Assault Response Coordination Service (SARCS)

If you are unsure about whether you want report to the police but would like to have the option to report in the future you can contact NHS Scotland’s Sexual Assault Response Coordination Service (SARCS) on 0800 148 88 88 (open 24 hours, 7 days a week), for an independent forensic examination service within 7 days of the incident. They can store your evidence for 26 months, giving you more time to make a decision about whether to go to the Police. Find our more at: nhsinform.scot/SARCS.

Other  legal and reporting to the police resources:

>> You may be able to claim compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

>> The Scottish Government’s resource on rape and sexual assault includes information on investigating and prosecuting rape and sexual assault. It covers: legal definitions; diagram of police and prosecution process; police process; prosecution process; going to court; sentencing and after; private prosecution; and civil action.


ERCC makes every effort to maintain the accuracy of the information on this website. We cannot accept responsibility for, and disclaims all liability for, any loss or damage which may arise from use of the information.

We take no responsibility for any material on external websites we have links to external links.

Information last updated January 2023

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