Domestic abuse proceedings breakdown: FOI release

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

Information requested

You asked for information on domestic abuse between the years of 2017 and 2019, including:

(i) how many times was the Scottish police called out to respond to reports of domestic abuse?

(ii) how many reports were of emotional abuse and how many were of physical abuse?

(iii) how many reports were filed and how many led to arrest?

(iv) how many cases went to court and how many were given community service or imprisonment?

(v) what is the percentage of women and men being victims and perpetrators?

(vi) what changes were enforced in the Scottish police since the domestic violence act of 2018? Has it proven efficient?


Some of the information you have requested is available from the Domestic Abuse in Scotland, 2018-19 publication which can be found at the link below.

In terms of parts (i), (ii), (iii) and (v) of your request, the Scottish Government does not specifically hold information on the number of reports of domestic abuse that police officers respond too, whether they were of emotional or physical abuse or whether they resulted in an arrest. However, Table 1 in the Domestic Abuse in Scotland publication includes the number of incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police and how many of these incidents resulted in the recording of a crime or offence between 2009-10 and 2018-19 (the latest available information). Any individual domestic abuse incident can result in multiple crimes or offences being recorded, Table 2 includes the number of crimes and offences recorded as part of domestic abuse incidents in 2018-19, for the earlier year see the 2017- 18 publication (link included below). Finally, Table 6 provides a breakdown of domestic abuse incidents by the gender of both the victim and the accused.

For more information see the Domestic Abuse in Scotland publications:

Some caution should be exercised in interpreting the statistics on the number of incidents recorded by the police across years in Table 1 above. 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.

Part (iv) of your request is covered in the table below (up to 2017-18). Information for 2018-19 for Criminal Proceedings in Scotland is due to be published in Spring. 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:

Table 1. Number of domestic abuse proceedings by disposal type, 2008-09 to 2017-18(1,2)

  08/09 09/10 10/11 11/12 12/13 13/14 14/15 15/16 16/17 17/18
Custody 793 950 1,018 1,107 1,227 1,464 1,566 1,695 1,475 1,424
Community Sentence 1,434 1,795 1,774 2,252 2,487 3,120 3,515 3,549 3,393 3,205
Monetary 2,758 3,095 2,747 2,685 2,510 2,939 3,118 2,898 2,489 2,134
Other 2,123 3,004 3,027 2,833 3,068 3,554 4,242 4,234 3,479 3,019
Charge not proved 858 1,318 1,481 1,629 1,618 2,519 3,192 3,141 2,376 2,018
Total 7,966 10,162 10,047 10,506 10,910 13,596 15,633 15,517 13,212 11,800

Source: Scottish Government Criminal Proceedings database
(1) where main crime
(2) this data relates to cases which were identified by a domestic abuse marker. For further detail, please refer to the Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2017-18 publication.

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 a 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 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.

Finally, in relation to part (vi) of your request, changes to procedure around the enforcement of the new Act are an operational matter for Police Scotland. The Scottish Government did provide Police Scotland with additional funding of £825,000 between 2018 and 2020 to support the implementation of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 and to provide enhanced training to around 14,000 officers and frontline staff. The funding was also used to develop a self-completion e-learning package on the new legislation which has been made available to all 22,000 staff.

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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