Homicide in Scotland 2022-23

Statistical bulletin on crimes of homicide recorded by the police in Scotland in 2022-2023.

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Victims of homicide

The number of homicide victims has shown a downward trend since 2004-05. In 2022-23, there were 52 victims of homicide, 1 fewer than in 2021-22. This is the lowest number since comparable records began in 1976.

Figure 1: Homicide victim numbers continue to fall

Total number of victims and victims by sex, Scotland, 2001-02 to 2022-23
Line chart of homicide victims showing that the number of homicide victims has fallen since 2001-02. And has fallen most steeply in the period up to 2012-13.

As can be seen from figure 1, the reduction in victim numbers has primarily been driven by a reduction in male victims. For the five years from 2018-19 to 2022-23 there were 220 male victims of homicide – a 54% reduction compared to 477 for the 5 year period from 2003-04 to 2007-08. Over those same periods the number of female victims reduced by 25% from 99 to 74.

Age and Sex of Victims

(Table 5)

In 2022-23 there were 39 male victims, representing 75% of all homicide victims. Since 2021-22 the number of male victims increased by 2 from 37 to 39, whilst the number of female victims decreased by three from 16 to 13.

Males are more likely to be victims of homicide than females, with an overall rate of 15 victims per million population in 2022-23. The equivalent rate for females was five victims per million population.

The median age of a victim of homicide in 2022-23 was 47 years old, 5 years higher than in 2021-22 when the median age of a victim was 42 years old (Table 1). This is the highest median age of homicide victims since comparable records began in 1976.

Figure 2 shows the victimisation rate by age group and sex for homicides since 2018-19 (i.e. for the past 5 years – representing 294 victims). For most age groups, the rate is higher for males than for females, though rates were very similar for those aged between 0 and 15 years old and 75 and over. The rate for males peaks in the 35 to 44 years old age groups and for females peaks in the 45 to 54 years old age group.

Figure 2: The majority of homicide victims are male

Age profile of homicide victimisation rate by sex, Scotland, 2018-19 to 2022-23
Bar chart showing that across all adult age ranges there have been more male victims than female victims in the last 5 years, and the highest homicide rates are amongst adults aged 25-54 for both males and females.

There has been a reduction in homicides over the last 20 years across all age groups under 65. The biggest reduction has been amongst victims aged 16-24. In the five years period from 2003-04 to 2007-08 there were 126 victims in this age range. This dropped to 24 across the latest five years period from 2018-19 to 2022-23.

Figure 3: In the last 20 years homicide rates have dropped substantially for younger age groups

Age profile of homicide victimisation rate by 5 year period, Scotland, 2003-04 to 2022-23
Bar chart showing that the homicide rates have fallen across all age groups aged under 75 in the last 20 years.


Email: justice_analysts@gov.scot

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