Support for Families Bereaved by Crime service

Victim Support Scotland is here to help when you’ve been bereaved by crime.

Being a family member of a murder victim is traumatic. You are likely to be experiencing a range of emotional reactions and physical symptoms, worried about the future and how you will cope emotionally and/or financially, and you may not be sure who to turn to. You may have practical questions in the first days or weeks following on from the murder. You may need support before and during a court case or access to specialist trauma or counselling services. Victim Support Scotland is here to help you.

Victim Support Scotland’s team members support families and next of kin with immediate practical tasks including access to financial assistance, contacting organisations and arranging a funeral. We provide timely, consistent information when you need it.  We will listen to you when you need to talk, and provide links to specialist services such as counselling or trauma therapy.

Our support will help you navigate the legal justice system, so you know what to expect and ensure you are aware of your rights. We will support you in court and, where needed, will arrange a familiarisation visit to see the court ahead of the trial.

We offer face-to-face meetings in a location which is convenient for you and will travel Scotland-wide to provide support.

We understand that you may need support regardless of when the crime happened and we hope to hear from you when you feel ready to contact us.

How to access support

If you are a direct family member, you may have contact with Police Scotland’s Family Liaison Officers  or Victim Information and Advice (based in the courts) who can refer you to our service. When we hear from them, we will make contact and arrange to see you as soon as possible.

You can also refer yourself, or make a referral on behalf of someone else, directly to the service by accessing our National Helpline on 0800 160 1985, contact us online or email us at sfbc

Bereaved by crime abroad

There are many additional challenges when experiencing crime abroad, not only are you having to cope with the impact of the crime itself but also trying to navigate the legal systems of another country.

Since 2022, the Support for Families Bereaved by Crime service have extended their scope to support families who have been bereaved through murder or culpable homicide abroad. We work alongside the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to deliver this service.

We can offer emotional and practical support, such as funding accommodation, providing information and help returning a person’s body home.

If you do not want support now, but you change your mind later, it will still be available to you.


If you have been bereaved following a road death, you can be supported by specialist organsiations such as SCID and BRAKE.

BRAKE has published information and advice for bereaved families and friends following a road death in Scotland, which can be found by clicking here.

Information guides

The following guides are designed to provide clear and consistent information for those who have been bereaved by crime. They are divided into sections relevant to the stages and events which may occur. The guides are available in alternative formats and languages on request.

Common questions

Will the service support children? 

Referral pathways are identified to ensure that children have access to appropriate specialist support at the earliest possible stage.  Parents are supported to access appropriate support, identify any support required by their children and to work with schools, health and lead professionals.   

Is support available at the weekend or in the evening? 

Support will be offered in the evening and weekends where required and we will offer support flexibly to meet family needs. The service does not deliver 24/7 support, where there are times that the service is unavailable for support we will provide information on other services that can be used.  

Is there a time limit on how long support will last? 

There is no limit on how long families can access support. We will respond to family’s needs and  work with them to provide support when required.  

Where will support take place? 

Support can take place in a location of your choice, where you feel comfortable and safe. This could be your home or a local setting. Support can also take place in one of Victim Support Scotland’s offices. Support workers will travel to meet with you in any locality in Scotland.