Information

Number of cases reported of intimate images: FOI release

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


Information requested

Numbers of reported cases and outcomes on the following crimes for the year 2021 (Jan-Dec):

  • Disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress under Section 2 of the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016, where the victim is 18 or over
  • Threats to share private sexual images, under section 69 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021
  • Voyeurism - under Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019
  • Extortion - under section 21 of the Theft Act 1968

You specified the level of information you require as being:

  • Arrests
  • Cautions given
  • Offenders charged and number of charges
  • Community resolution
  • Cases marked No Further Action

Response

An estimate of the volume of these crimes can be made from those recorded by Police Scotland and published in the monthly Recorded Crime in Scotland series (https://www.gov.scot/collections/recordedcrime-in-scotland/).

Furthermore, the Voyeurism legislation cited in the request refers to England & Wales only, and in Scotland the appropriate legislation is found under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2009/9/section/9). The offence which you refer to of 'threatening to share private sexual images' under section 69 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 also applies only in England and Wales. In Scots law, threatening to disclose an intimate image is an offence at section 2 of the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) act 2016. Section 21 of the Theft Act 1968 also applies only in England and Wales. Extortion is a crime at common law in Scotland.

The closest matches to the request we are able to identify correspond to the following crime codes:

  • 16039 - Threatening to disclose an intimate image
  • 16040 - Disclosure of an intimate image
  • 17004 - Voyeurism (victims are 16+)
  • 7000 - Threats and Extortion

Note that although we cannot disaggregate these counts by age in general, the Voyeurism code exists to explicitly separate those 16+ from younger victims.

Additionally, Threats and Extortion covers a broader array of crimes than those relating to domestic abuse or threats to disclose intimate images.

The volumes for these codes recorded by Police Scotland in the 12-month period from January 2021- December 2021 are as follows:

  • Disclosure of an intimate image - 485 crimes
  • Threatening to disclose an intimate image - 356 crimes
  • Voyeurism (victims are 16+) - 501 crimes
  • Threats and Extortion - 1,338 crimes

The data we receive from Police Scotland for the production of the National Statistics on Recorded Crime, is a simple count of the number of crimes and offences, for each local authority, which the police have recorded. This means that the age of victims cannot generally be determined from the data supplied by Police Scotland.

The latest available information on Criminal Proceedings in Scotland is for the financial year 2019-20 and we are, therefore, unable to provide information relating to the number of people where proceedings have concluded, Recorded Police warnings or community sentences for the year 2021.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. The reasons why we don't have the information are explained below.

  • Arrests – this data is not held by the Scottish Government
  • Cautions given – the equivalent would be a Recorded Police Warning (RPW) in Scotland, see note above re availability

However, you may wish to contact Police Scotland at foi@scotland.pnn.police.uk who may be able to help you with the latest information for both arrests and RPWs.

  • Offenders charged and number of charges – this data is not held by the Scottish Government, we can only provide the number of people or charges where proceedings have concluded
  • Community resolution – this time period is not available, see note above re availability
  • Cases marked No Further Action – this data is not held by the Scottish Government

You may wish to contact the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) at foi@copfs.gov.uk who may be able to help you with information relating to the 'number of charges reported to COPFS' and 'cases marked no further action'.

​​​​​​​About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

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