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Adult survivors

Information for adult survivors

We understand that not every person feels ready or able to discuss abuse they experienced as a child.  COPFS and Police Scotland are here to listen to you.  If you feel able to you should report the matter to Police Scotland. Information on how to report a crime to Police Scotland and what happens next can be found on Police Scotland's website.

When a crime is reported, the police carry out an initial investigation. If there is enough evidence, then a report may be submitted to COPFS for consideration.

How COPFS investigates and prosecutes historical abuse

We have specialist prosecutors in our National Sexual Crimes Unit who will investigate historical sexual abuse. Our National Sexual Crimes Unit is responsible for the consideration, progression and prosecution of the most serious sexual offences. These cases can include historical abuse. The COPFS Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry Review Team is a team of specialist prosecutors who consider and progress prosecutions of non-recent child abuse in institutional settings. Institutional settings include residential children’s homes, foster care, boarding schools and secure accommodation. The Review Team is supported by specialist VIA staff, who can provide you with information about your case and how to access support services. There is more information about VIA at the top of this page. More information on the justice process section of our website.

You will also find information for adult survivors of childhood abuse in this Police Scotland video.

Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) is investigating the abuse of children in care in Scotland. The Inquiry will report the outcome of its investigations to the Scottish Ministers and make recommendations they consider required to policy, legislation, and practice for the protection of children in the future. The Lord Advocate is a core participant in SCAI and committed to supporting the work of SCAI and contributing positively and constructively to that work.

COPFS opening statement to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

You can find more information about SCAI and the important work they do at the SCAI website.


You can call the our Enquiry Point on 0300 020 3000 and we can provide information and advice on support organisations that may be able to help you. You can still access support if you do not want to report the abuse you experienced. You can find out about survivor support organisations funded by the Scottish Government on their website.

If you need immediate help contact one of the following organisations.


Samaritans provide confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day, for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair. You can contact Samaritans free on 116 123. You can also find more information on the Samaritans website.

Breathing Space

Breathing Space offers free and confidential advice for people experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety, whatever the cause. Call 0800 83 85 87. Phone lines ae open from 6pm to 2am Monday to Thursday; and all weekend from 6pm Friday through to 6am Monday. Calls to Breathing Space are free from landlines and from mobiles. The Breathing Space website also provides a wide range of information and advice about coping with low mood, depression and anxiety.