If the police need more information to make a case, they can investigate further. They may gather evidence including:
- phone and computer records
- CCTV footage
- photos of injuries
- medical records
- interviews with witnesses
The police should be aware of any danger to you caused by seeking sensitive information and should try to find evidence from other sources too.
The police may ask to see certain parts of your medical records if they think they could be important for the case. You don’t have to agree, but the police or the suspect’s legal team can apply to the court to get them. You can object to this. You may want legal advice to help you consider your options.
In cases involving sexual violence, the police may take you to a sexual assault referral centre (SARC) or a specially trained doctor (called a forensic medical examiner or FME), where you can get medical treatment and a forensic medical examination.
The examination looks for evidence that the police can use in a criminal investigation or trial. This might include gathering traces of skin, hair, or bodily fluids and examining any injuries you might have.
You can also go to a SARC independently, without going to the police, or get treatment from your GP or hospital. You don’t have to pass this information and evidence on to the police if you don’t want to. The SARC can store it for you while you make up your mind.
The police may decide to charge the abuser with a crime, or pass all the information on to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to assess.
To prosecute the suspect, the police or CPS must think there’s a realistic chance of getting a conviction – a guilty verdict in court – and that it’s worthwhile to do so (known as ‘being in the public interest’).