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When you or someone you care about are assaulted, it is a very traumatic event. There are different levels of violence and assault and these are categorised in law by the level of injury.


The police response may be different based on the circumstances of the offence and the type of assault. Police may attend immediately or come and see you at a later time.

Reporting an incident to police

When a report of an assault is made to the police control room the operator will consider the circumstances including the following factors:

  • If there is a threat to life or limb
  • If the incident is in progress or likely to occur or be resumed
  • If there is a suspect is at the scene or an early arrest is likely
  • Violence is being used or threatened, or
  • A 999 call is abandoned, or the operator thinks a police officer needs to attend immediately

Depending on the circumstances it may be more appropriate for the victim to receive medical attention before speaking with police - this will be assessed on a case by case basis.

In this case, what can you do before the police attend?

  • Obtain medical attention if required
  • Keep any clothing or items relevant to the offence (if there is blood or forensic evidence)
  • Write down any witnesses
  • Take photos of the injuries

Police officers attending will make contact with the person who has been assaulted and make sure all evidence is secured. This will include any evidence at the scene.

Photographic evidence of the injury assists the investigation and can be recorded by the victim or the officer attending. Serious injuries will be photographed by a crime scene investigator.

The police will update you on progress with the investigation, letting you know of any arrests or suspects being charged.

You can agree with the police how often you would like to hear from them about the investigation.

As a victim of crime you may be able to take part in restorative justice. This is when those harmed by a crime have contact with the offender so that both can find a positive way forward. Both the victim and offender need to agree for the contact to take place.

Further help and support can be obtained from the following agencies:

Victim Support

Is an independent charity, that works towards a world where people affected by crime or traumatic events get the support they need and the respect they deserve. It helps people feel safer and find the strength to move beyond crime. Their support is free, confidential and tailored to your needs.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority 

Deal with compensation claims from people who have been physically or mentally injured because they were the blameless victim of a violent crime in England, Scotland or Wales.

CICA is an executive agency, sponsored by the Ministry of Justice.

Download leaflet: pdf icon Assault - advice sheet [166kb]