Domestic abuse: statistics recorded by the police in Scotland - 2016/17

Characteristics of victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse incidents recorded by the police in Scotland.

This document is part of a collection

2. Background

2.1 Statistics on domestic abuse are used to inform the Scottish Government's Justice Vision and Priorities, and National Outcome 9 - 'we live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger'.

2.2 These statistics are also used by a wide range of stakeholders to monitor trends, for policy research and development, and for research purposes. Further information on users and uses of the statistics is available in Annex 5 of this bulletin.

2.3 The 'Domestic Abuse Recorded by the Police in Scotland' annual statistical bulletin forms part of a series of bulletins produced by the Scottish Government on the criminal justice system, which can be found at

2.4 The Police Service of Scotland (referred to throughout this report as Police Scotland) is responsible for operational policing in Scotland and is held to account by the Scottish Police Authority. The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 changed the policing landscape in Scotland, replacing the previous eight police forces, the Scottish Police Services Authority and the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency from 1 st April 2013.

2.5 The creation of Police Scotland has altered the way in which domestic abuse data has been captured. Prior to 1 st April 2013, each legacy force had a bespoke system to collect the data required. Between 1 st April 2013 and 31 st March 2014, a new VPD (Vulnerable Person Database) system was rolled out to the then 14 Police Divisions in Scotland. At this time this was referred to as the interim Vulnerable Persons Database but is now simply referred to as the Vulnerable Persons Database. From 1 st April 2014 onwards, all domestic abuse data was collected through the VPD. In summary:

  • 2012-13 (and previous years) - Data collected from the eight legacy force systems
  • 2013-14 - Data collected from the VPD (approx. 15%) and from legacy force systems (approx. 85%)
  • 2014-15 onwards - Data collected from the VPD

2.6 Due to the modification in data collection, elements of this publication have changed in recent editions.

2.7 All tables and charts, including additional tables, can be accessed online via the following link:


Email: Mark Bell

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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