Police recorded domestic abuse at lowest level since 2018/19 – but most incidents go unreported

Incidents of domestic abuse in Scotland recorded by police have fallen to the lowest level seen since 2018/19.

Mar 27, 2024
By Paul Jacques

Newly published statistics show Police Scotland recorded 61,934 incidents of domestic abuse in 2022/23, a reduction of four per cent compared with the previous year.

This is the second consecutive year this figure has shown a decrease since 2015/16

However, Scotland’s Chief Statistician cautioned that most domestic abuse is not reported.

The most recent results from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (for 2018-20) estimated that fewer than one in five incidents (16 per cent) were reported to police.

Victims Minister Siobhian Brown said: “Domestic violence is abhorrent. Although these latest statistics show a decrease in police recorded incidents, we know that there are cases where violence and abuse is not reported.

“I would encourage victims to seek support from organisations who can help and, where they can, to report any abuse to police.

“Through Scotland’s Equally Safe Strategy, which focuses on early intervention, prevention and support services, we are putting in place measures to tackle the root causes of domestic abuse. It is imperative that where behaviours turn into violence and abuse, those responsible face the full force of the law and are brought to justice.

“Our landmark Domestic Abuse Act has provided more powers to police and courts to punish perpetrators of abuse and protect people at risk.

“This month we announced £2 million of funding for Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid to help reduce their waiting lists for women who need support services, including refuge places and counselling.

“This is in addition to £19 million annual funding from our Delivering Equally Safe Fund, which aims to tackle gender-based violence and has supported 121 projects from 112 organisations since October 2021 – benefitting almost 32,000 people in its first year.”

The latest figures from Scotland’s Chief Statistician on police recorded domestic abuse in Scotland show that 39 per cent of incidents in in 2022/23 included the recording of at least one crime or offence.

The type of crime or offence that was most frequently recorded as part of a domestic abuse incident was common assault (32 per cent) followed by threatening and abusive behaviour, accounting for 21 per cent of crimes and offences.

Following its enactment on April 1, 2019, crimes recorded under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 accounted for five per cent of offences recorded as part of a domestic abuse incident in 2022/23.

There were 114 incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police in Scotland per 10,000 population during the 12 months. At a local authority level, Dundee City (180), West Lothian (148) and Glasgow City (141) recorded the highest incident rates per 10,000 population.

Where gender information was recorded, around four-in-five incidents of domestic abuse (81 per cent) had a female victim and a male suspected perpetrator. This was the same as in 2021/22.

The 31 to 35 years old age group had the highest incident rate for both victims (277 incidents recorded per 10,000 population) and for the suspected perpetrators (245 incidents recorded per 10,000 population).

A third of incidents (32 per cent) occurred at the weekend, down slightly from 33 per cent in 2021/22.

Nine in ten of all domestic abuse incidents occurred in a home or dwelling where location was recorded.

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