Publication - Statistics

Domestic abuse: statistics recorded by the police in Scotland - 2019/20

Characteristics of victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse incidents recorded by the police in Scotland in 2019/20.

Domestic abuse: statistics recorded by the police in Scotland - 2019/20
Annex 6: Comparisons with rest of the UK

Annex 6: Comparisons with rest of the UK

6.10. England & Wales

Domestic violence and abuse data in England & Wales is not comparable with Scotland's statistics on domestic abuse due to differences in definition. The UK Government's definition of domestic violence and abuse is:

'Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional'.

The definition used by Police Scotland does not include family members, with the data collected only including domestic abuse between partners (married, cohabiting, civil partnership or otherwise) or ex-partners. The definition used by Police Scotland also has no age restrictions upon it. Differences in legislation and common law also have to be taken into account when comparing the crime statistics for England & Wales and Scotland.

It should be noted that the Domestic Abuse Bill passed both Houses of UK Parliament and was signed into law on 29 April 2021. This is set to provide further protections to people experiencing domestic abuse, as well as strengthen measures to tackle perpetrators. This is now law and will begin to be implemented later in 2021. More information on the Domestic Abuse Act and changes is available on the Home Office website.

Domestic abuse statistics for England & Wales from the Crime Survey for England & Wales, police recorded crime and a number of different organisations are available on the Office for National Statistics website.

6.11. Northern Ireland

Similarly to the comparability issues with England & Wales, statistics on domestic violence and abuse in Northern Ireland are not directly comparable to those in Scotland. The Police Service of Northern Ireland's definition of domestic abuse is as outlined in the Northern Ireland Government Strategy 'Stopping Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse in Northern Ireland' as:

'Threatening, controlling, coercive behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, virtual, physical, verbal, sexual, financial or emotional) inflicted on anyone (irrespective of age, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or any form of disability) by a current or former partner or family member'.

The definition clarifies that:

  • 'incident' means an incident anywhere and not confined to the home of one of the partners/family members
  • 'family members' include mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandparents, whether directly or indirectly related, in-laws or stepfamily
  • 'intimate partners' means there must have been a relationship with a degree of continuity and stability. The relationship must also have had (or reasonably supposed to have had) a sexual aspect, such as in the relationship between husband and wife or between others generally recognised as a couple including same sex couples.

The main difference between the definitions is that the one used by Police Scotland does not include family members, with the data collected only including domestic abuse between partners (married, cohabiting, civil partnership or otherwise) or ex-partners. Domestic abuse statistics for Northern Ireland are available on the Police Service of Northern Ireland website.


Contact

Email: Justice_Analysts@gov.scot