Domestic abuse in Scotland statistics: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

You asked for information on domestic violence in Scotland between years 2013 - 2018, including:

(i) How many domestic violence reports were made to police, from this how many were male violence to female victims and how many were female violence to male victims.

(ii) From this I would also like to know how many of these cases went to court, how many were female accused and how many were male accused.

(iii) From the court cases, I would like to know how many male accused were either imprisoned or given community service and how many female accused were either imprisoned or given
community service.

On 12th December 2019, you clarified that the request is for information on all reports of domestic violence, including both minor and major offences.


The Scottish Government does not publish information under the heading of ‘domestic violence’ however statistics related to ‘domestic abuse’ are included in the following publications:

  • Domestic Abuse in Scotland statistical bulletin [1] (which covers the characteristics of victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse incidents recorded by the police)
  • Criminal Proceedings in Scotland statistical bulletin [2] (which covers offences dealt with by courts, sentencing outcomes and characteristics of convicted offenders).

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’.

The information you have requested (up to 2017-18) has been provided in the attached spreadsheet with part (i) of the request being covered in Table 1 and parts (ii) and (iii) in Table 2.

Some caution should be exercised in interpreting the statistics on the number of incidents recorded by the police across years in Table 1. This is because incidents earlier than 2014-15 were collated using a different system. The creation of Police Scotland altered the way in which domestic abuse data was captured. Prior to 1st April 2013, each legacy force had a bespoke system to collect the data required. Between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2014, a new iVPD (interim Vulnerable Persons Database) system was rolled out to the then 14 Police Divisions in Scotland. From 1st April 2014 onwards, all domestic abuse data was collected through the iVPD.

The statistics dealing with crimes recorded by the police and court proceedings are not directly comparable as a person may be proceeded against for more than one crime involving more than one victim and there is the possibility that the crime recorded by the police may be altered in the course of judicial proceedings. Also a crime may be recorded by the police in one year and court proceedings concluded in a subsequent year.

Whilst differences in counting methods [3] mean the domestic abuse recorded by the police and criminal proceedings publications are not directly comparable, a crime or offence only comes to the attention of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for consideration for prosecution once it has been recorded as such by the police, so police recorded crime figures will have some influence on the number of prosecutions and convictions in court.

Information for 2018-19 will not be available until publication of the Domestic Abuse in Scotland, 2018-19 and Criminal Proceedings in Scotland, 2018-19 statistical bulletins. These are due to be published in February 2020 (exact date not confirmed) and 28th January 2020, respectively.

The dates of all Scottish Government Official and National Statistics publications are pre-announced, and the up to date list of future publications can be found at:

[1] -
[2] -
[3] - For more information please see Annex C, Criminal Proceedings in Scotland, 2017-18:

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI/201900008220 - Information Released


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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