Criminal justice social work statistics: 2019 to 2020

National-level information, as well as some local authority breakdowns, on criminal justice social work activity in Scotland. Also includes data on justice social work services and social work orders, as well as characteristics of the individuals involved.

This document is part of a collection

3 Diversion from prosecution

(Tables 1, 4 & 5)

3.1 The Procurator Fiscal may decide to refer cases to criminal justice social work in appropriate cases where referral may prevent or deter further offences. In such cases, prosecution may be waived or a decision on prosecution deferred pending successful completion of the social work scheme. National guidelines on diversion from prosecution in Scotland can be found on the Community Justice Scotland website.

3.2 The number of diversion from prosecution cases commenced rose by eight per cent between 2018-19 and 2019-20 to around 2,000 (Table 1). Numbers had fallen sharply between 2016-17 and 2017-18 but the rise in the most recent year has brought numbers back up to around the same level as the historic high in 2016-17 (see additional datasets which accompany this publication).

3.3 During 2019-20, there were around 3,100 referrals, 2,800 assessments and 1,600 cases completed (Table 4).

3.4 The rise between 2018-19 and 2019-20 was particularly marked (18 per cent) for those aged 16 to 20 while there was a rise of 9 per cent for people aged over 30 (Table 5). By contrast, numbers for people aged 21 to 30 fell by almost a quarter. People aged 16 to 20 were substantially over-represented when the population base was taken into account - they accounted for 50 per cent of people getting diversion from prosecution in 2019-20 but only 8 per cent of the population aged 16 to 70. This continues to reflect a general focus on diversion for younger people.

3.5 In 2019-20, there were around 5.2 diversion from prosecution cases commenced per 10,000 population (Table 3). This was highest for those living in Dumfries & Galloway (14.4) and lowest for those living in Scottish Borders (1.0), Orkney (1.3) and East Renfrewshire (1.6). Further information is provided in the additional datasets which accompany this publication.



Back to top