Experiencing any form of gender-based violence can affect people in many different ways.
There’s no right or wrong way to feel and it might change from day-to-day. There can be a whole range of different feelings and each one is valid.
However you feel, there is support for you to help you understand and cope with the impacts, and to help you access other kinds of help and support if you need to.
Your safety is the most important thing
If you’ve recently been raped or sexually assaulted, the most important thing is your safety.
If you’re unsafe or you need emergency medical attention call 999 to reach the police or ambulance services.
If you cannot talk when on the phone to the emergency services, you can dial 55 after an automated message plays to let the operators know it isn’t an accidental call. They will then put you through to a police call handler. They will ask you some simple yes or no questions. If you are not able to speak, listen carefully to the questions and instructions from the call handler so they can assess your call and arrange help if needed.
Even if it’s not an emergency, you may need medical attention. To find out more about receiving the right medical treatment, visit our article that provides information about pregnancy, STIs and reporting it to the police.
The following support services are listed in alphabetical order.
Abused Men in Scotland
Abused Men in Scotland is a national helpline to support men who have experienced abuse. You can contact them by phone from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Phonecalls to this number are free from UK mobiles and landlines and do not appear on your phone bill. They are also available via email, Facebook and Twitter:
Amina: The Muslim Women’s Resource Centre
Amina: Let’s Talk is a service for Muslim women and girls aged 16-25 in Scotland. Their helpline runs every Wednesday 6pm-9pm.
Childline is a free and confidential service available to those 18 and under. You have to create an account and log in to use the 1-2-1 counsellor chat or email. You can use the 1-2-1 counsellor chat from 7:30am to 10:30pm Monday to Friday and from 9:00am to 10:30pm on Saturday and Sundays. If you join the queue for a chat with a counsellor before 10:30pm you will be answered by a counsellor, even if it’s after 10:30pm.
You can call childline from 7:30am to 3:30am Monday to Friday, and between 9:00am and 3:30am on Saturday and Sundays. If you call Childline the number won’t appear on your phone bill.
You can send Childline an email at any time and you should receive a reply within 24 hours.
Find out more about what happens when you contact Childline and how they can help or watch our IGTV with Lauren Burke, a Childine Counsellor as she answers questions submitted by young people about how to get in touch and the support you can receive.
Childline also has the Report Remove service. This is where you can report nudes images of yourself that have been shared online without your consent if you are under 18 or the images are of you when you were under 18. To find out more about the service visit the Report Remove information page on Childline.
If you are over 18 and images of yourself have been shared online without your consent, you can reach out to The Revenge Porn Helpline.
Dundee International Women’s Centre
Dundee International Women’s Centre offers support and opportunities for marginalised women in Dundee. They provide educational, recreational and social activities as well as employment training, and information and advice services. Their phone number is available from around 9:00am to 4:30pm Monday to Wednesday.
FearFree offers support to any man or LGBTI+ person experiencing domestic abuse. The. contact information below will put you through to an office where you will be put in touch with someone who can help. This number is available from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday.
Hemat Gryffe Women’s Aid
Hemat Gryffe offers support for women experiencing domestic abuse, forced marriage or honour-based abuse. Their helpline is available Monday to Friday from 9:00am until 5:00pm.
National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline
The National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline provide support services to LGBTQIA+ people. Their helpline is open Monday to Friday (10am – 5pm) with a later closing time of 8pm on Wednesday’s and Thursday’s.
National Stalking Helpline
The helpline is open daily from 9:30am – 4pm, except Wednesday when it’s open 1pm – 4pm.
- Call: 0808 802 0300
Rape Crisis Scotland
Available for those aged 13 and over of any gender, open from 6pm until midnight every day and offers free language interpreters including British Sign Language service. Rape Crisis Scotland can put you in touch with your local Rape Crisis centre for support, they offer free and confidential support on many different topics as well as workshops in aromatherapy and relaxation techniques.
If you’re aged 18+ you can contact the ‘Revenge Porn’ Helpline (10 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays) which provides advice, guidance and support with helping to remove intimate content which has been non-consensually shared online. You can also email them or contact them through Facebook Messenger.
If you have experienced sexual violence and you are 16 or over you can phone the sexual assault self-referral phone service. The service can help to arrange care for you in the days following a rape or sexual assault. If you have experienced sexual violence in the past 7 days they may be able to arrange for you to have a forensic medical examination without making a report to the police. The service runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and calls are free from landlines and mobiles.
- Call: 0800 148 88 88
Scottish Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline
The Scottish Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline is run by Scottish Women’s Aid and can offer private support to anyone with experience of domestic abuse or forced marriage. They are open 24 hours and they have a translator service available if you’d rather speak to someone in a different language.
Scottish Women’s Aid Groups
There are 36 Women’s Aid groups all over Scotland that can offer you support in your local area. Find your nearest by entering your postcode on the Scottish Women’s Aid website.
Each Women’s Aid service has specialised workers who understand the confusing issues around domestic abuse. They support women, children and young people in one to one meetings or in group settings. You can speak to a member of Women’s Aid staff confidentially. They will never tell anyone what you say unless they think you or another person is at serious risk of harm. If you can’t find your local Women’s Aid or they don’t open at a time that suits you, you can phone the National Helpline that is available 24 hours a day on 0800 127 1234.
Shakti Women’s Aid
Shakti provides help for black minority ethnic (BME) women, children and young people who are experiencing or who have experienced domestic abuse. Their helpline is available Monday 9:30am – 4pm, Tuesday 1pm-4pm, and Wednesday to Friday 9:30am-4pm.
Survivors UK helps male, trans, and non-binary victims of sexual abuse as well as their friends and family. If you’re aged 13 – 18 you can get support Monday – Sunday between 12pm and 8pm via:
If you are aged 18+ you can support Monday – Sunday between 12pm and 8pm via:
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP)
Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) is a law enforcement agency that helps keep young people safe from sexual abuse and grooming online. You can report something that has happened to you on their website.
The Internet Watch Foundation
The Internet Watch Foundation works to remove private images of under 18-year-olds from the internet. Coming across private images of a young person, whether it’s yourself or someone else, can be really upsetting but it’s important to report. You can find out more about making a report to The Internet Watch Foundation here.
Find out more about The Internet Watch Foundation by visiting their homepage.
The Scottish Child Law Centre
The Scottish Child Law Centre can offer free confidential legal advice service on any issue to do with children and young people in Scotland. There service is available for under 21’s. You can call them between 9:30am and 4pm Monday to Friday but they have a dedicated “Youth Hour” on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 12pm and 1pm where they only take called from young people.
The Young Scot LawLine
The Young Scot LawLine offers free, confidential, 24-hour legal advice on any legal issue or problem for anyone aged 11 to 26, in partnership with JC Hughes Solicitors in Glasgow.
- Call: 0808 801 0801
Victim Support Scotland
Victim Support Scotland offers free confidential to support to anyone affected by a crime. Their website offers a postcode checker where you can find face-to-face support near you. Their helpline is open Monday to Friday 8am-8pm.
- Call: 0800 160 1985
Mental health & wellbeing support
There are also a range of organisations that can support you if you’re feeling down, depressed or anxious. Visit our mental health and emotional wellbeing support services page for more information.
Talking to someone you trust
Many young people will talk to someone they know – like a friend, parent, carer, teacher, youth worker, or someone else in their family. You might feel more comfortable doing this too.
Talking to someone else can help you to make sense of what has happened and maybe get more information and help.
A trusted adult can also take action to keep you safe. Whoever you talk to, you deserve to be believed and not to be blamed for what has happened to you. If you feel the person you spoke to hasn’t understood or hasn’t helped you, you could try talking to someone else you know or get in touch with one of the organisations that are listed above.
Getting help at school
There are people you can talk to at school about any form of abuse you have experienced. All members of staff at a school have a duty to safeguard young people. This means that they cannot keep secrets and might have to contact the police if they are concerned for your safety. You can talk to any member of staff you like. This could be a guidance teacher, a learning assistant, or a school nurse. It’s up to you who you tell but everyone should feel safe from any form of abuse or harassment at school.
Getting help at college or university
You can speak to anyone at the student support services such as a resident advisor or warden. Student support services should be able to offer help with a range of options and should prioritise your safety. Your student union office might also have welfare and support services too.
At college and university, there are a lot of different peer support networks that might be helpful if you prefer to talk to a fellow student.
You can also contact Nightline association if you prefer to remain anonymous. It is a helpline for students, run by students that offers a safe space to talk. For more information on when your local nightline is run visit the nightline website.
Getting help at your local pharmacy
Ask for ANI stands for Action Needed Immediately. It is a codeword scheme developed by the Home Office to provide a discreet way for victims of domestic abuse to signal that they need emergency help at their local pharmacy. This scheme is available throughout all Boots stores and some independent pharmacies.
This means that if you are suffering any kind of domestic abuse you can go into your pharmacy and if you ask for ANI you can receive a safe space to let staff know that you require an emergency police response or help to contact a helpline or specialist support service.
If your local pharmacy is not a part of the Ask for ANI scheme they should still have other support available to assist you.