If you’ve been raped, sexually assaulted or sexually abused – whether this has happened recently or in the past – you can get support if you decide you want to report the incident, or incidents to the police.
It can be pretty daunting to think about reporting an incident to the police but there is support available to you and below is information from Police Scotland and from the Rape Crisis Centre in Glasgow about what you can expect if you decide to report.
We asked our colleagues at the Divisional Rape Investigation Unit in Glasgow to tell us what happens when a woman or man contacts them to report a sexual offence. We’ve also added information about the Support to Report Project here at the Rape Crisis Centre in Glasgow. You can also find out about the whole process from reporting to court on a DVD made by Rape Crisis Scotland, which is available on YouTube.
Police Scotland, Greater Glasgow Division Divisional Rape Investigation Unit (DRIU) are based at London Road Police Office, Bridgeton, and are responsible for the investigation, in a supportive manner, of Rape and other sexual offences which take place in the Greater Glasgow area.
The team comprises of female and male Detective Officers with a wealth of experience and trained to the highest standard in the investigation of sexual offences, whilst also having undertaken additional training as Sexual Offence Liaison Officers (SOLO)Of paramount importance to any investigation is the survivor of sexual crime, who will be listened to and respected throughout and will not be coerced or forced into engaging with police or the legal process.
Should you make a report of a relevant sexual offence SOLO officers from the DRIU, the gender of whom can be specified by you, are sent to meet with you and explain the investigatory and legal process ensuring you are fully aware of how enquiries will progress.
The dedicated SOLO officer will then be your main point of contact throughout the investigation.
Whilst making the report you can be accompanied by a friend / family member, and you will be offered the services of the Support to Report Project which is a free and confidential service that offers support and advocacy to survivors of sexual violence, who can be present during Police contact. It is recognised that making a report can be daunting and we aim to provide the support you require to assist during this very difficult period.
The DRIU also work closely with Rape Crisis Scotland and can refer you to them for ongoing support through the investigation and court process.
Once a report has been made, either verbally or in a written statement, the enquiry is directed by an experienced Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) holding the rank of Detective Inspector. The SIO will ensure that all investigatory opportunities are explored and will utilise officers from within the DRIU as well as specialist officers and support staff trained in a variety of roles as required to further the investigation. Where specialists are required to have contact with you, for example a Doctor for the purpose of a medical examination, the process will again be fully explained and you will be given the option of specifying the person’s gender.
The DRIU, together with Rape Crisis, are committed to supporting the survivors of sexual violence and ensuring the investigation is undertaken sensitively. We would encourage any person who has been affected by this, recently or in the past, to make contact with us and we commit to supporting you through the investigation.
The Support to Report Project has been running at the Rape Crisis Centre in Glasgow for almost three years. During that time, we’ve provided support and advocacy services for both female and male survivors of sexual violence and abuse who are reporting to police or at any point through the legal process.
The Support to Report advocacy workers can be with a survivor when she/he makes a statement to police or after the statement has been given. If the survivor is concerned about going to the police station or having police in her/his home for the statement, we can arrange for it to take place at the Rape Crisis Centre in Glasgow. Police officers regularly visit our centre to take statements and we find that survivors feel comfortable and supported having the SOLOs and their support workers present during the process.
Advocacy workers can also offer some support to survivors who are dealing with other agencies and require support to attend appointments or get advice regarding housing or benefits. Workers can also support survivors with defence precognition interviews and understanding and setting up Special Measures in court, such as screens for giving evidence or having a support worker with them when she/he is giving their evidence in court.No matter when or where the sexual violence or abuse took place, Support to Report can offer support and advocacy services to survivors. The service is free and confidential and is available to survivors from Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire and Inverclyde.
Our project is part of a national advocacy service so no matter where you live in Scotland you will have an advocacy worker within your local Rape Crisis Centre. If you live outside our area, you can find your nearest rape crisis centre here.
The Rape Crisis Centre in Glasgow also hosts weekly surgeries for the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre where women can access free and confidential legal advice and information. It’s available to women aged 16+ who have experienced any form of sexual or domestic abuse, harassment, stalking or exploitation. The nature and type of legal information, advice or representation offered is dependent upon individual women’s circumstances. Services, for example could include, protection orders, assistance with Criminal Injuries Compensation, forced marriage protection orders and information about the right to review. For more information about services on offer and how the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre can help you or someone you are working with please visit the website.
For an appointment at the Glasgow surgery call 0141 552 3201 or contact the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre helpline which is open each Tuesday evening between 6pm and 9pm and Wednesday afternoons between 1.30 pm and 4.30 pm on 08088 010 789.