Obviously, choosing to contact the police is an individual decision – the right path for some people but not for others. However if you do wish to inform the police, regardless of how long ago the abuse took place, the police will still take it seriously.
It does not matter if your report relates to last week, last year or thirty years ago – the same initial process will happen. This involves an account being taken from you. It will then be recorded as a crime, and the officer in the case will consider what needs to be done to investigate and what evidence there may be to follow up. They will almost certainly want to contact the third party.
The first focus of the police will be on safeguarding – to determine whether the person accused still presents a risk of harm to children, or associates with anyone who might. This is because it is important that they protect the vulnerable today, as well as investigate the crimes of yesterday. There may also be other victims who can be signposted to support.
There is also the option for you to give an account to the Truth Project https://www.truthproject.org.uk/i-will-be-heard. Providing an account to the Truth Project may assist in helping you to decide as to whether going to the police is right for you. The Truth Project will not try to give advice or influence this decision – but perhaps the process of sharing what happened might help you decide which next step is best for you.
This Reporting Guide – July 2018, from Operation Hydrant, has been specifically designed to help adult victims of child sexual abuse make an informed decision when considering whether to report to police.
This information booklet from Police Scotland, provides information for survivors on how to report abuse to the police, court processes and links to support organisations.