Domestic abuse: statistics recorded by the police in Scotland - 2017/18

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

Key Points

  • Levels of domestic abuse recorded by the police in Scotland have remained relatively stable since 2011-12, with around 58,000 to 60,000 incidents a year. The police recorded 59,541 incidents of domestic abuse in 2017-18, an increase of 1% compared to the previous year.
  • In 2017-18, 44% of incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police in Scotland included the recording of at least one crime or offence.
  • The crime or offence that was most frequently recorded as part of a domestic abuse incident in 2017-18 was Common assault (accounting for 37% of all crimes and offences recorded). This was followed by Breach of the peace etc. which accounted for 31% of crimes and offences.
  • There were 110 incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police in Scotland per 10,000 population in 2017-18. At a local authority level, Clackmannanshire (162) and West Dunbartonshire (153) recorded the highest incident rates per 10,000 population. The Orkney Islands (49) and East Dunbartonshire (52) recorded the lowest rates per 10,000 population.
  • Where gender information was recorded, around four out of every five incidents of domestic abuse in 2017-18 had a female victim and a male accused. This proportion has remained very stable since 2011-12.
  • In 2017-18, 16% of domestic abuse incidents involved a male victim and a female accused (where gender was recorded). Again, this proportion has remained stable since 2011-12 (ranging from 16% to 18%).
  • In 2017-18, the 26-30 years old age group had the highest incident rate for both victims (272 incidents recorded per 10,000 population) and those accused (246 incidents recorded per 10,000 population).
  • Incidents of domestic abuse recorded were more common at weekends with 35% of all incidents in 2017-18 occurring on a Saturday or Sunday.
  • In 2017-18, 88% of all domestic abuse incidents occurred in a home or dwelling.


This bulletin presents statistics on domestic abuse, based on details of incidents and recorded crime supplied by Police Scotland in 2017-18. Incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police do not reveal all incidents of domestic abuse in Scotland as not all incidents are reported to the police. The figures are used to inform policy and, in conjunction with the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (see Chapter 4), are used to assess the extent and nature of domestic abuse in Scotland.

The definition of domestic abuse used by Police Scotland is:

‘Any form of physical, verbal, sexual, psychological or financial abuse which might amount to criminal conduct and which takes place within the context of a relationship. The relationship will be between partners (married, cohabiting, civil partnership or otherwise) or ex-partners. The abuse can be committed in the home or elsewhere including online’.


Email: Mark Bell

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