Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scottish Victimisation Telephone Survey 2020

Findings from the Scottish Victimisation Telephone Survey (SVTS) 2020 and further information about the survey.


The Scottish Victimisation Telephone Survey (SVTS) 2020 is a social survey which asked people about their experiences and perceptions of crime, safety, and policing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SVTS was developed as a result of all Scottish Government face-to-face interviewing, including the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey  (SCJS), being suspended to support social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension of the SCJS opened up an evidence gap with particular challenges for assessing the volume of crime in Scotland not reported to the police, where other sources cannot provide an alternative.

The Scottish Government introduced the SVTS as a discrete and additional collection to the SCJS. As such it should not be viewed as a replacement to the latter, with Scottish Government statisticians keeping under review options for the resumption of the SCJS including an assessment of the continued impact of social distancing measures on the running of face-to-face social surveys in Scotland. Users will be kept informed of developments in this area through the ScotStat network.

The main aims of the SVTS 2020 were to:

  • collect data whilst face-to-face interviewing on the SCJS was not possible
  • enable respondents to tell us about their experiences and perceptions of crime, safety, and policing; including crime not reported to the police
  • provide a reliable measure of adults' experience of crime
  • examine the varying risk and characteristics of crime for different groups of adults in the population
  • examine any changes in crime between the pre-COVID-19 period (September 2019 to the 23rd March 2020 when the UK’s first national lockdown was introduced) and the period following this up to the end of September 2020
  • provide a complementary measure of crime to compare with police recorded crime statistics for the same period
  • provide information on public perceptions of crime, policing and safety issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including comparisons with data collected in England and Wales as part of the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW)

The results are based on a sample of around 2,700 telephone interviews conducted in September and October 2020. The survey is designed to be nationally representative of all private residential households in Scotland. 


These statistics have been produced quickly in response to developing world events. The Office for Statistics Regulation, on behalf of the UK Statistics Authority, has reviewed them against several key aspects of the Code of Practice for Statistics and regards them as consistent with the Code’s pillars of Trustworthiness, Quality and Value.

Interviewee information

The interviews for the telephone survey have now been completed. If you took part you can find out more about what happened to the information you provided and other frequently asked questions at the following link:


To provide any feedback on the telephone survey, or to request further information, please use the following contact details:


Telephone: 0131 244 3012

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