4. Putting Domestic Abuse in Context
4.1 There are a number of data sources which collect information on domestic abuse in Scotland.
- The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey ( SCJS) provides information on Partner Abuse.
- As detailed in this publication, Police Scotland record the number of incidents recorded on domestic abuse.
- The Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service ( COPFS) have information on Procurator Fiscal markings and how many charges are reported to courts
- The Scottish Government publish statistics on proceedings and convictions, which take place in the Scottish courts, through their Criminal Proceedings in Scotland publication.
4.2 The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey ( SCJS) is a large-scale survey measuring people's experience and perceptions of crime in Scotland. The survey is conducted annually (previously biennially up to and including 2014-15) and based on a representative sample of adults (aged 16 and over) living in private households in Scotland.
In addition to its main findings report, an additional report examining the prevalence and nature of partner abuse in Scotland is also published. The data presented in this report were collected through a self-completion module of the survey. The 2014-15 Partner Abuse report, published in May 2016, is the fifth sweep of the SCJS to include a partner abuse questionnaire, with previous data sweeps conducted in 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2012-13.
It should be noted that even though the SCJS has a similar definition of domestic abuse to police recorded incidents, there are several differences that will affect the comparability of the data.
- Most incidents of domestic abuse go unreported to the police for a variety of reasons.
- The SCJS is a sample of those aged 16+ and in private households. For example adults staying in Care Homes or those aged under 16 will not be in the estimates.
The SCJS is capturing the victim's experience of partner abuse. Although the survey is self-completion, some respondents may choose not to disclose information on particular incidents.
Results from the 2014-15 Partner Abuse Module:
Overall, 2.9% of respondents had experienced partner abuse in the last 12 months. The risk of partner abuse in the last 12 months did not change between the 2012-13 and 2014-15 survey sweeps. A higher proportion of women than men experienced partner abuse in the last 12 months, at 3.4% and 2.4% respectively.
More detailed information, along with explanatory notes, is available here: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Crime-Justice/crime-and-justice-survey/publications
4.3 The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service ( COPFS) publish management information on the number of charges reported to COPFS and taken forward to the courts with a domestic abuse aggravator attached.
More detailed information, along with explanatory notes, is available here: http://www.crownoffice.gov.uk/publications/statistics.
4.4 The Scottish Government publishes statistics on proceedings and convictions, which take place in the Scottish courts, through their Criminal Proceedings in Scotland publication. These statistics are derived from data held on the Criminal History System ( CHS), a central database used for the recording of information on persons accused and/or convicted of committing a criminal act. Aggravator codes can be recorded on the CHS to provide additional information relating to the nature of a charge - one of these aggravator flags is entitled 'Domestic' referring to 'Domestic Abuse'.
Offences with a charge proved with a Domestic Abuse aggravator recorded, 2005-06 to 2014-15
Chart 11: Offences with a charge proved with a Domestic Abuse aggravator recorded, Scotland, 2010-11 to 2014-15
Statistics on aggravators relate to all offences not just the main charge relating to an individual proceeding. In the year to 2014-15 there was a 14% increase in the number of offence convictions with a domestic abuse aggravator recorded (15,452 offence convictions), up from 2013-14 (13,570 offence convictions). The increase may be reflective of better recording of the aggravator coupled with a strengthened emphasis on tackling domestic abuse in Scotland by both Police Scotland and the COPFS.
More detailed information, along with explanatory notes, are available from: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Crime-Justice/PubCriminalProceedings .