Violent crimes can be both physical attacks and threats of assault. In many cases they are serious crimes that can be distressing for the victim.
The police will record the crime as violent if the offender intended to harm you, regardless of whether or not you did get hurt.
Violent crimes can be classed in many different forms including sexual assault, domestic violence, hate crime and driving offences. However, these crimes will be covered in more detail on separate pages.
Violent crime is predominantly associated with assault. An assault is an act by which a person intentionally or recklessly causes another person (the victim) harm. This can include different forms such as:
- Common assault - when a person either assaults another person or commits a battery, with minor or no injuries.
- Actual bodily harm (ABH) - includes any hurt calculated to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim, causing visible injuries.
- Grievous bodily harm (GBH) - if there is intent to wound the victim, leaving them with serious injuries.
Robbery is another form of violent crime. This is when someone takes something from you, often with violence or threats, in the street or a public place.
How can I protect myself?
On the street:
- If you think you’re being followed, head for a busy, well-lit place and call the police. If you are attacked, scream and make as much noise as you can;
- If your bag or belongings are snatched let them go. Your safety is more important than your possessions;
- Avoid using cashpoints when you have been drinking;
- Try to avoid confrontation;
- Stay safe on a night out – plan your journey home before you leave and use licenced taxis.
In pubs and clubs:
- You’re far more vulnerable when you’re drunk. Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back;
- Watch your drink at all times;
- Keep valuables out of sight.
- If an unexpected visitor calls at your home, check their identification or do not let them in;
- Never give out bank or credit card details to someone who contacts you unexpectedly;
- Never give your address, phone number or photograph to someone you only know on the internet.
Where can I get help or further information?
If you have been attacked - once you are safe call 999.
While your memory is fresh, write down as much detail as you can about the attacker and what happened. Descriptions of bodies and faces are better than details of clothes.
On the road - to report a danger or threat to yourself or other drivers dial 999 as soon as it's safe to do so.
If you are still at the scene, stay in your car. Write down the registration number, make and colour of any suspicious vehicle, and note who is driving it.
For everything else call 101.