Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15: Partner Abuse

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The proportion of adults reporting experiences of partner abuse in 2014/15 has remained similar to previous years.

In the last 12 months 2.9% of adults experienced either psychological or physical partner abuse, while 14.1% of adults have experienced partner abuse since the age of 16.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today published Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) 2014/15: Partner Abuse, presenting statistics on adults’ experiences of partner abuse taken from interviews with almost 10,000 adults.

The Extent of Partner Abuse

The survey reveals that more women than men experienced partner abuse in the last 12 months, at 3.4 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively. Women were also more likely than men to experience partner abuse since the age of 16 (18.5 per cent) compared to men (9.2 per cent).

Partner abuse experienced in the last 12 months was highest amongst young people aged 16 to 24 years (6.9 per cent) and lowest amongst those aged 65 or over (0.4 per cent).

Since the age of 16, more people living in the 15 per cent most deprived areas experienced partner abuse (19.0 per cent), compared to 13.2 per cent of those living in the rest of Scotland.

The Varying Nature and Impact of Partner Abuse

The most common types of psychological abuse experienced by victims (since age 16) were having a partner behaving in a jealous or controlling way (7.6%) and being repeatedly put down by a partner (6.4%).

Among victims of psychological partner abuse since the age of 16, 59.0 per cent of women experienced a partner behave in a jealous or controlling way, compared to 42.4 per cent of men, whilst 53.7 per cent of women victims of abuse were repeatedly put down by their partner, compared to 25.9 per cent of men.

Among victims of physical abuse since age 16, women were more likely than men to experience physical abuse involving direct contact, for example: being pushed or held down (45.3 per cent women, compared to 14.2 per cent men); being choked, strangled or smothered (22.7 per cent women, compared to 6.6 per cent men) and forced intercourse (20.1 per cent women, compared to 1.9 per cent men). However, men were more likely than women to experience non-contact violence, specifically, having something thrown at them at 40.1 per cent compared to 30.7 per cent respectively.

For some victims, the impact of partner abuse extended to the wider family. Two in five (39.4 per cent) of those who experienced partner abuse in the last 12 months said that children were living in their household when the most recent incident took place. When children were in the house, two-thirds (63.7 per cent) said that children were present during the most recent incident.

Impacts of Abuse and Reporting Incidents of Partner Abuse

The impact of partner abuse was wide-ranging. Based on the latest incident within the last 12 months, almost two-thirds of victims (65.2 per cent) reported at least one psychological effect, and 39.6 per cent reported at least one physical effect. The most common psychological effect was low self-esteem, reported by 37.4 per cent of victims. A higher proportion of women than men experienced four or more psychological effects, at 31.1% and 8.8% respectively.

Of those who had experienced partner abuse within the last 12 months, 62.8 per cent had told at least one person or organisation about their most recent experience. People were more likely to tell people from their informal networks, with 35.1 per cent of victims telling friends and 18.5 per cent telling relatives, while 13.8 per cent told doctors and 11.6 per cent told police.

Notes to editors

The full statistical publication is available at

The publication presents statistics derived from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) on adults’ experiences of psychological or physical partner abuse in Scotland, over the last year and since age 16. It examines the nature and impact of partner abuse and explores the extent to which people or organisations were informed about the abuse, including specifically contact with the police about the incident.

The main SCJS survey is based on around 11,472 face-to-face interviews which are conducted in private households. Respondents are also asked to answer a separate self-completion module on more confidential and sensitive issues, including drug taking, partner abuse, sexual victimisation and stalking. The self-completion section of the SCJS 2014/15 questionnaire was completed by 9,986 respondents, which represents 86.6 per cent of all respondents.

This report covers the year from April 2014 to May 2015.

The definition of partner abuse applied in the survey is in line with the definition adopted by the police in recording domestic abuse:

‘…any form of physical, non-physical or sexual abuse, which takes place within the context of a close relationship, committed either in the home or elsewhere. This relationship will be between partners (married, co-habiting or otherwise) or ex-partners.’

The SCJS is one of the Scottish Government’s flagship national surveys delivering robust evidence for the “Safer and Stronger” Strategic Objective. The survey allows the people of Scotland to independently report their experiences and perceptions of crime, and thus influence the continued development and improvement of the Scottish Justice system. Further information on Crime and Justice statistics (including the SCJS) within Scotland can be accessed at:

The figures released today were produced by independent statistical staff free from any political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. More information can be found at:

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