Publication - FOI/EIR release

Domestic abuse complaint statistics: FOI release

Published: 12 Jan 2022

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

Published:
12 Jan 2022
Domestic abuse complaint statistics: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100258052
Date received: 25 Nov 2021
Date responded: 15 Dec 2021
Information requested

The following information for the 24 months to 31st August 2021, broken down by gender:

  • How many complaints of domestic abuse were received by Police Scotland?
  • How many of the accused were charged by the police?
  • How many of the accused have been prosecuted in court?
  • How many of the accused are still waiting for court proceedings to take place?
  • What is the average time taken between the initial complaint being made to the case being heard in court?
  • In how many cases have all charges been dropped prior to court proceedings taking place?
  • In how many cases have all charges been dropped against the accused/accusers within 14 days?
  • How many of the accused have made counter allegations against their accuser?
  • In how many cases with a counter allegation have both parties been subsequently charged?
  • In how many cases with a counter allegation have charges against one party been dropped?
  • In how many cases with a counter allegation have charges against both parties been dropped?
  • In how many cases has the PF found that the police have failed to provide sufficient corroborative evidence that a crime has been committed by the accused?
  • In how many cases did the PF make this decision within 14 days?
  • In how many cases have charges been dropped because it was not in the public interest to continue the prosecution?
Response

I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested below.

1. You asked how many complaints of domestic abuse were received by Police Scotland in the 24 months to 31st August 2021 broken down by gender.

We publish Official Statistics on the number of incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the Police in Scotland during the 12 month period from 1 April to 31 March. The latest available Official Statistics are for the year 2020-21, covering the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 and are available on our website:
https://www.gov.scot/publications/domestic-abuse-recorded-police-scotland-2020-21/

For the period from 1 September 2019 to 31 March 2021, the Police recorded 101,169 incidents of domestic abuse. During the same period, where the victim’s gender was recorded, 81% of domestic abuse incidents involved a female victim and a male accused; 16% of domestic abuse incidents involved a male victim and a female accused. In 2% of incidents victim and accused were both females, and in a further 2% victim and accused were both males.

As presented above, the latest published Official Statistics on the number of incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the Police in Scotland are for the year up to 31 March 2021. More recent information on the number of domestic abuse incidents recorded by Police Scotland is available from the Coronavirus (COVID- 19): Justice Analytical Services data reports: https://www.gov.scot/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-justiceanalytical-services-data-report/

In the period 1 April 2021 to 31 August 2021 the police recorded 26,790 incidents of domestic abuse. It should be noted that this data is from Police Scotland’s management information and is based on their Administrative Data available at that time and is not presented as Official Statistics. We do not hold the gender breakdown of this data. This data (including information on gender breakdown) will eventually be incorporated into the 2021-22 annual Official Statistics.

2. You asked how many of the accused were charged by the police in the 24 months to 31st August 2021 broken down by gender.

We do not hold information on how many of the accused were charged by the police. However the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) publish an annual report on Domestic Abuse and Stalking Charges in Scotland. The latest report covers the year 2020-21 and is available on COPFS’ website: https://www.copfs.gov.uk/images/Documents/Publications/Statistics%20-%20Domestic%20Abuse/Domestic%20Abuse%20and%20Stalking%20Charges%20in%20Scotland%202020-21.pdf

Earlier editions of this report are available on COPFS’ website: https://www.copfs.gov.uk/publications/statistics

If you wish to request further information from COPFS, you would be required to submit a separate FOI request to foi@copfs.gov.uk.

3. You asked how many of the accused have been prosecuted in court in the 24 months to 31st August 2021 broken down by gender.

We publish National Statistics annually on the number of people dealt with by the Scottish Criminal Justice System in the Criminal Proceedings in Scotland bulletin. The latest bulletin was published in May for data relating to financial year 2019-20 and can be accessed here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/criminalproceedings-scotland-2019-20.

At this stage we do not hold the equivalent information for 2020-21, which will be created and released as part of the production process for the next National Statistics in 2022.

Care should be taken when comparing different data sources relating to the criminal justice system. For example recorded crime statistics (used above in answer to your 1st question) count crimes and offences at the time that they came to the attention of Police Scotland, while criminal proceedings statistics report on cases which have concluded in court. This means that a crime may be recorded by the police in one year and court proceedings concluded in a subsequent year. In addition, a person may be proceeded against for more than one crime, or a set of crimes with more than one victim, in a proceeding, but only the main charge is counted in these court proceedings statistics. There is also the possibility that the crime recorded by the police may be altered in the course of judicial proceedings.

Therefore, in answer to your question, the data available in the criminal proceedings bulletin would not be able to tell you how many of the accused had been prosecuted in court. Rather it provides a separate figure that tells you how many people were convicted in Scottish criminal courts for domestic abuse in 2019-20.

The Criminal Proceedings Bulletin for 2019-20 shows there were 9,355 convictions for crimes with a domestic abuse aggravation. The most common crime types with this aggravation were breach of the peace, common assault and crimes against public justice. The vast majority of people convicted of an offence with a domestic abuse aggravation were male (8,331 or 89%). In addition to the convictions noted above, 206 people (202 or 98% of whom were male) were also convicted under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act. The Act came into effect on 1st April 2019 for crimes committed on or after this date, and so are included in the 2019-20 bulletin for the first time. The crime under this act covers a course of behaviour which is abusive of a person's partner or ex-partner. Although this crime came into effect at the start of 2019-20, the full course of conduct has to have taken place on or after 1 April 2019. Therefore there will have been a time lag before such crimes could be reported, so this year does not effectively cover a full year under the act. The number of convictions is therefore likely to increase in the next few years.

Your other questions
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the remainder of the information you have requested.

COPFS would be able to provide information on some, but not all, of your remaining bullet point requests. In particular, they are unlikely to be able to provide any information on counter allegations. As noted above in answer to Point 2 if you would like to request the information that is available, please submit an FOI request to foi@copfs.gov.uk.

About FOI

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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