Justice Social Work Statistics in Scotland: 2021-22

This publication presents national-level information on justice social work activity in Scotland. It includes data on justice social work services and social work orders, as well as characteristics of the individuals involved.

This document is part of a collection

3 Diversion from prosecution

(Tables 1, 3 & 4)

3.1 The relevant prosecution policy of the Lord Advocate is that diversion should be considered for all individuals where there is an identifiable need that has contributed to their offending and which is best met through a diversion scheme. This is particularly the case where the individual is under 18 years of age and there is a presumption that an alternative to prosecution will be in the public interest. In diversion cases, a Procurator Fiscal may decide to waive prosecution or to defer prosecution pending the successful completion of the diversion scheme.

3.2 The number of diversion from prosecution cases commenced rose by 20 per cent between 2020-21 and 2021-22 to around 2,700. The rise in the most recent year has brought numbers to their highest in the last ten years (see additional datasets which accompany this publication).

3.3 During 2021-22, there were around 4,800 referrals, 4,300 assessments and 2,200 cases completed.

3.4 Between 2020-21 and 2021-22, the number of cases commenced rose for all age groups. This rise was highest (39 per cent) for those aged between 21 and 30.

3.5 By far the most likely people to get diversion from prosecution, as a proportion of the overall population, were those aged 16 to 17. They accounted for 26 per cent of people getting diversion from prosecution in 2021-22 but only three per cent of the Scottish population aged 16 to 70. Similarly, 18-20 years olds accounted for 13 per cent of diversion cases in 2021-22 but only 5 per cent of the population aged 16 to 70.

3.6 In the last three years, just over two-thirds of cases commenced were for men. In 2021-22, 63 per cent were for people who were either unemployed or economically inactive.


Email: justice_analysts@gov.scot

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