Domestic abuse: statistics recorded by the police in Scotland, 2022-23

Characteristics of victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse incidents recorded by the police in Scotland from 2022 to 2023.

Annex 1: Terminology and context

Domestic abuse

A statistical collection on domestic abuse (previously referred to as domestic violence) was introduced in 1999. The definition of domestic abuse used by Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)[12] 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’.

Suspected perpetrator

The term suspected perpetrator is used to encompass both a person suspected to have committed an offence where the police attend an incident and a person charged by the police with having committed a criminal offence.

Recording crimes and offences

Contraventions of Scottish criminal law are divided for statistical purposes only into crimes and offences. The term “crime" is generally used for the more serious criminal acts; the less serious are termed "offences". The distinction is made only for statistical reporting purposes and does not influence the way the police investigate reports of criminal activity. The seriousness of the offence is generally related to the maximum sentence that can be imposed, and does not relate to the impact on the individual experiencing the incident.

In one criminal incident, several crimes or offences may occur – e.g. a suspected perpetrator may assault their spouse and damage their car in the process. In this example, crimes of vandalism and assault would be recorded. Statistics in this bulletin either relate to the number of incidents recorded or the number of incidents with at least one crime or offence committed.

Crime groupings

The detailed classification of crimes and offences used by the Scottish Government to collect criminal statistics contains over 500 codes. Further information on how the crime codes are grouped can be found in the Recorded Crime User Guide. A new crime and offence grouping structure has been used since 2021-22, for more detailed information on these changes please see Annex 5 of the 2021-22 Recorded Crime publication.

Calculating rates per 10,000 population

Figures on incidents of domestic abuse in this publication are presented both as number of incidents and as rates per 10,000 population. These rates are calculated using the mid-year population estimates from the National Records of Scotland. Mid-2022 population estimates are used in this bulletin.



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