After a crime: your rights

You have the right to contact the police and be kept informed about the investigation if you’ve been the victim of a crime.

You have different rights if you’ve been the victim of a crime in Scotland.

You must be given a crime reference number and contact details for the police officer dealing with your case when you report the crime.

You have the right to ask the police for updates about the investigation. You’ll need your crime reference number when you contact the police.

During the police investigation

While the police are investigating the crime, they’ll give you an update on the case at least once a month until it’s closed.

The police will let you know within 5 days if someone is:

  • arrested
  • charged
  • set free
  • released on bail
  • given a caution, reprimand, final warning, or penalty notice

The police will tell you if they can’t investigate the crime within 5 days of you reporting it. They will also tell you why they’ve dropped their investigation.

You may be able to get information quicker and have other rights if you’re the victim of a serious crime, have been persistently targeted or are considered vulnerable or intimidated.

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)

When the police have finished their investigation, they can pass the information to CPS who then decide if there’s enough evidence to take the case to court.

If the CPS decide to drop or alter the charge, they will usually tell you within 5 days. You will be told how to request a review of the decision (if the charge is dropped or no evidence is presented) - you’ll usually have 7 days to make the request.

Victim personal statement

You can tell the police how the crime has affected you. This is called a ‘victim personal statement’. It can be used later when the court is deciding on a punishment.

Use the Victims’ Information Service to find help in your area with writing personal statements.


The police might give some information about the crime to the media to help with the investigation. They’ll normally ask your permission before they do this.

If you’ve been the victim of a sexual assault or rape, it’s against the law for anyone to publish your name, photo or anything else that could identify you.

Get support as a victim of crime

Read more about the support available if you’re the victim of crime.

Further information

The Victim’s Code has full details of how the CPS and police and other organisations should treat you if you’re the victim of crime.