As part of the investigation, the police will collect evidence. This might be physical evidence, such as clothes or other property or medical evidence.
It’s important the police get as much evidence as possible to help the case if it goes to court.
If you are a victim of sexual violence(external link), or if you have been physically assaulted, you might be asked to have a medical examination. This is your choice, but it can provide important evidence for the case.
A doctor will examine you and document your injuries. Sometimes your injuries will be photographed to use as evidence in court. You can have a support person with you at all times.
During the investigation, the police might interview anyone else who knows something about the crime.
The crime scene
Police might ask that areas where the offence was committed (the crime scene) be left untouched so they can take photographs or check for fingerprints and other evidence. This might be inconvenient, but it could produce important evidence.
If you are a victim of a serious crime, you may be able to get financial assistance if your home or car has been cordoned off by police or needs professional cleaning.
Identifying the offender
If the identity of the offender is in question, police might ask you to look at photographs or attend an identification parade to try and identify the offender.
If your property is needed as evidence
When police arrive at a crime scene they will probably collect evidence, this can include taking some of your property to help with the investigation.
The police might keep hold of your property throughout the investigation. It will be called an ‘exhibit’ and kept in a safe room at the police station. Your property will be given an official record number.
You have the right to have your property returned as soon as possible, unless it was contraband, like stolen property or drugs. If your property is needed as evidence in a court case it might be a long time before police are able to return it.
Tell the officer in charge what you would like done with your property, including whether you want to have it returned or not.