Information

Non-sexual violence in Scotland: report

Findings on the most up to date, complementary statistics on non-sexual violence in Scotland.

This document is part of a collection


4 Victims of Violent Crime

4.1 What do we know about victims of violent crime?

4.1.1 Trends in the ages of victims of violent crime

 Key Findings:

The SCJS shows the likelihood of being a victim of violent crime generally decreased with age. However, the most recent survey found no difference in the likelihood of experiencing violent crime between those aged 16-24 and 25-44 years old.

Police Recorded Crime data suggests those aged 16-24 and 25-44 years old are more likely than other age groups to experience some types of violent crime, including Attempted murder & Serious assault and Robbery. 

Taken together, all sources suggest that the long-term reduction in violent crime since 2008-09 has been driven in large part by falls in the number of relatively younger victims. As a result of this fall, the average age of victims has increased for many types of recorded violent crime. 

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey

The SCJS found in 2017-18 that the likelihood of being a victim of violent crime generally decreased with age. For example 5.8% of 16-24 year olds experienced at least one violent crime in 2017-18, compared to 1.9% of those aged 45-59 and 0.4% of those aged 60 and over. There was no difference in the likelihood of experiencing violent crime between those aged 16-24 and 25-44 years old.

The prevalence rate for young people aged 16-24 has fallen significantly since 2008-09, when 12.0% of people in this age group experienced at least one violent crime. No changes were seen in any other age group during this time - the apparent decrease in other prevalence rates is not statistically significant. Figure 5 shows prevalence rates for the different age groups over time.

Figure 5: Proportion of adults experiencing a violent crime, by age, 2008-09 to 2017-18. 

Figure 5: Proportion of adults experiencing a violent crime, by age, 2008-09 to 2017-18.

Base: SCJS 2008/09 (16,000); 2009/10 (16,040); 2010/11 (13,010); 2012/13 (12,050); 2014/15 (11,470); 2016/17 (5,570); 2017/18 (5,480) Variable: PREVVIOLENT, QDAGE.

Source: Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, 2017-18

Police Recorded Crime

Most Police Recorded Crime statistics do not include information on victim age – however some findings are available from additional studies of this data (based on a review of crime records) and other statistical sources, like the Homicide National Statistics.

The median age of a Homicide victim over the three years ending 2017-18 was 40 years old, compared to 35 years old for the three years ending 2008-09. Between those two periods the number of Homicide victims fell by 46% from 337 during the three years ending 2008-09 to 183 during the three years ending 2017-18. Most of this reduction was due to falls in the number of 16 to 24 year old victims (down from 75 to 26) and 25 to 44 year old victims (down from 150 to 84 victims) (Table 1).

Victims of Attempted murder or Serious assault were also older in 2017-18 than victims in 2008-09 - with their median age increasing from 27 to 31 years old. The volume of these crimes fell by 35% between those years, driven by reductions amongst those aged 16 to 24 years old and 25 to 44 years old (Table 2). For example the estimated number of crimes with a victim aged 16 to 24 years old fell from 2,220 in 2008-09 to 1,100 by 2017-18, with equivalent figures for those aged 25 to 44 years old of 3,120 and 1,930. In contrast, there was a small increase in the estimated volume of cases for older age groups (45 to 59 years old, and 60 years and above).

Despite these reductions, Attempted murder & Serious assault victimisation rates remain higher for the younger age groups, with an estimated 18.6 and 13.8 victims per 10,000 population respectively for those aged 16 to 24 years old and 25 to 44 years old in 2017-18. Rates were much lower for those aged under 16 or 45 and above (Table 3).

Victims of Robbery were older in 2017-18 than victims in 2008-09 – with their median age increasing from 29 to 35 years old. The volume of these crimes fell by 49% between those years, driven by reductions amongst those aged 16 to 24 years old (down an estimated 610 cases), and to a lesser extent those aged 25 to 44 years old (Table 4). Those aged 16 to 24 years old and 25 to 44 years old remain at the greatest risk of Robbery (Table 5).

Emergency Hospital Admissions for Assault

Data on Emergency Hospital Admissions due to Assault reflect the findings of Police Recorded Crime. The total number of admissions fell by 55% between 2008-09 and 2017-18, with the vast majority of this reduction coming from the relatively younger age groups (Table 6). Those aged 16-24 years old were down 71% from 1,808 to 522, whilst those aged 25 to 49 years old were down 51% from 2,481 to 1,212.

Table 1: Homicide victims by age group, three years ending 2008-09 & 2017-18.

Victim’s Age Group 3 years ending
2008-09
3 years ending
2017-18
2008-09 to 2017-18 change
% Volume %  Volume % Point Change Volume Change
Under 16 4.8% 16 5.5% 10 ⇑ by 0.7% -6
16 to 24 22.5% 75 14.2% 26 ⇓ by 8.2% -49
25 to 44 44.9% 150 45.9% 84 ⇑ by 1.0% -66
45 to 59 20.7% 69 23.0% 42 ⇑ by 2.3% -27
60+ 7.2% 24 11.5% 21 ⇑ by 4.3% -3
Median age of victim2 35 years old 40 years old
All recorded Homicide1 100% 334 100% 183 n/a -151

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding; 2 Three year moving average age.
Source: Homicide National Statistics, 2017-18

Table 2: Attempted murder & Serious assault victims by age group, 2008-09 & 2017-18.

Victim’s Age Group 2008-09 2017-18 2008-09 to 2017-18 change
% Est. Volume % Est. Volume % Point Change Est. Volume Change
Under 16 4.4% 280 4.9% 210 No change -70
16 to 24 34.4% 2,220 26.3% 1,100 ⇑ by 8.0% -1,120
25 to 44 48.2% 3,120 46.1% 1,930 No change -1,190
45 to 59 10.9% 710 18.0% 750 ⇑ by 7.1% 40
60+ 1.3% 80 3.4% 140 No change 60
Unknown 0.9% 60 1.3% 50 No change -10
Median age of victim 27 years old 31 years old
Total Attempted murder & Serious assault1,2 100% 6,472 100% 4,189 n/a -2,283

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding; 2Based on a sample of crime records (550 from 2008-09 and 551 from 2017-18)
Source: Analysis of Police Recorded Crime records, 2008-09 & 2017-18.

Table 3: Attempted murder & Serious assault victims per 10,000 population by age group, 2008-09 & 2017-18.

Victim’s Age Groups 2008-09 2017-18
Victims per 10,000 Population Victims per 10,000 Population
Under 16 3.1 2.2
16 to 24 36.3 18.6
25 to 44 21.9 13.8
45 to 59 6.6 6.4
60+ 0.7 1.1
Total Attempted murder & Serious assault1,2 12.4 7.7

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding; 2Based on a sample of crime records (550 from 2008-09 and 551 from 2017-18)
Source: Analysis of Police Recorded Crime records, 2008-09 & 2017-18.

Table 4: Robbery victims by age group, 2008-09 & 2017-18.

Victim’s Age group 2008-09 2017-18 2008-09 to 2017-18 change
% Est. Volume % Est. Volume % Point Change Est. Volume Change
Under 16 7.0% 220 6.1% 100 No change -120
16 to 24 29.7% 920 19.4% 310 ⇓ by 10.3% -610
25 to 44 41.9% 1,300 45.6% 720 No change -580
45 to 59 13.0% 400 19.2% 300 ⇑ by 6.2% -100
60+ 8.4% 260 9.6% 150 No change -110
Median age of victim 29 years old 35 years old
Total Robbery1, 2 100% 3,100 100% 1,580 n/a -1,520

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding; 2Based on a sample of crime records (501 from 2008-09 and 450 from 2017-18)
Source: Analysis of Police Recorded Crime records, 2008-09 & 2017-18

Table 5: Robbery victims per 10,000 population by age group, 2008-09 & 2017-18. 

Victim’s Age Group 2008-09 2017-18
Victims per 10,000 Population Victims per 10,000 Population
Under 16 2.4 1.1
16 to 24 15.0 5.2
25 to 44 9.2 5.1
45 to 59 3.7 2.6
60+ 2.2 1.1
Total Robbery1,2 6.0 2.9

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding; 2Based on a sample of crime records (501 from 2008-09 and 450 from 2017-18)
Source: Analysis of Police Recorded Crime records, 2008-09 & 2017-18

Table 6: All recorded Hospital Admissions for assault by age group, 2008-09 & 2017-18.

Victim’s Age Group 2008-09 2017-18 2008-09 to 2017-18 change
% Est. Volume % Est. Volume % Point Change Est. Volume Change
Under 16 4.1% 216 5.9% 140 ⇑ by 1.8% -76
16 to 24 34.2% 1,808 21.9% 522 ⇓ by 12.3% -1,286
25 to 44 46.9% 2,481 50.9% 1,212 ⇑ by 4% -1,269
45 to 59 12.4% 653 17.7% 421 ⇑ by 5.3% -232
60+ 2.4% 127 3.7% 87 ⇑ by 1.3% -40
All hospital admissions due to assault1 100% 5,285 100% 2,382 n/a -2,903

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding

Source: ISD Scotland: Scottish Morbidity Record (SMR01), Unintentional Injuries Statistics, 2008-9 & 2017-18

4.1.2 Gender of victims of violent crime

 Key Findings:

The SCJS finds no difference in violent crime victimisation rates between males and females, though females are much more likely to report having experienced Partner abuse through the additional self-completion module of the survey.

Police Recorded Crime data suggests males are much more likely to experience the lower volume types of violence that include severe physical injuries (for example Homicide and Attempted murder & Serious assault), with little difference detected by gender for the higher volume types of violence that include less severe physical injury or no physical injury at all (Common assault).

The SCJS, Police Recorded Crime and Hospital Admissions data all suggest the reduction in violence since 2008-09 has been driven by fewer incidents with a male victim. 

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey

The SCJS found no statistically significant difference in the likelihood of being a victim of violent crime by gender in 2017-18, with 2.5% of males and 2.1% of females experiencing at least one violent crime.

This marks a significant change since 2008-09, when 5.7% of males experienced at least one violent crime, compared to 2.7% of females, see Figure 6. As such the reduction in the prevalence of violence since 2008-09 is due to a fall in male victims, with no change detected for females over this period – the apparent decrease to 2.1% is not statistically significant. 

Respondents are asked about experiences of Partner abuse separately to other violent crimes, as part of the self-completion section of the survey. These results suggest that females are more likely to experience Partner abuse, with the 2016-18[13] SCJS figures estimating that 20.0% have experienced psychological or physical abuse since the age of 16 compared to 10.9% of males. Looking at more recent experiences in particular, the SCJS also found that 3.6% of females experienced Partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview, compared to 2.3% of males.

Figure 6: Proportion of adults experiencing a violent crime, by gender, 2008-09 to 2017-18.

Figure 6: Proportion of adults experiencing a violent crime, by gender, 2008-09 to 2017-18.

Base: SCJS 2008/09 (16,000); 2009/10 (16,040); 2010/11 (13,010); 2012/13 (12,050); 2014/15 (11,470); 2016/17 (5,570); 2017/18 (5,480) Variable: PREVVIOLENT, TABQDGEN

Source: Scottish Crime & Justice Survey, 2008-09 to 2017-18

Police Recorded Crime

Most Police Recorded Crime statistics do not include information on victim gender – however some findings are available from additional studies of this data (based on a review of Police Recorded Crime records) and other statistical sources, like the Homicide National Statistics[14].

Where violent crime is recorded by the police, it will either include the victim sustaining a severe physical injury (such as broken bones or wounds that will scar) or the victim may sustain a less severe physical injury / no physical injury at all (see Section 4.1.5 for more detail on injuries and the impact of violent crime). The former occurs in relatively small volumes, with males much more likely than females to face this type of violence. The latter occurs in much higher volumes with little difference seen between the overall experiences of males and females.

For example, 74% of Homicide victims over the three-years ending 2017-18 were male (Table 7), as too were 80% of Attempted murder & Serious assault victims in 2017-18 (Table 8). Males also made up a majority (60%) of Robbery victims in 2017-18, though it should be noted most Robbery does not include any physical injury to the victim (Table 9). In contrast, a 2014-15 study found that almost identical proportions of Common assault victims were male or female (49% each, with 2% unknown – Table 10) – with female victims much more likely than males to be assaulted by a partner / ex-partner (46% versus 14%)[15]. This study also found that around half of Common assaults involved no injury to the victim – a proportion that did not change depending on the victim’s gender.

Where a comparison can be made over time, it is clear that reductions in the volume of violence that includes severe physical injuries has been driven by fewer crimes with male victims. For example there were an estimated 5,650 male victims of Attempted murder & Serious assault in 2008-09, falling to 3,340 by 2017-18. At the same time the estimated number of female victims remained almost unchanged (820 in 2008-09 and 850 in 2017-18). Crimes of Homicide or Robbery show a similar trend, where reductions in male victims have been larger than for females.

Emergency Hospital Admissions for Assault

Whilst it is not possible to make direct comparisons between Hospital admissions and Police recorded crime data (see Annex 2), these sources do both generally relate to how Scotland’s emergency services respond to the most serious types of assault, and so it would be anticipated that both should show similar patterns and trends over time. This appears to be the case with males making up the clear majority of Emergency Hospital Admissions due to Assault in 2017-18 (86%), with most of the reduction in these Hospital Admissions over the past ten years coming from admissions of male victims (i.e. total admissions fell by 2,902 between 2008-09 and 2017-18, whilst those with a male victim fell by 2,566) (Table 11).

 Table 7: All recorded Homicide victims by gender, 2008-09 & 2017-18.

Victim’s Gender 3 years ending
2008-09
3 years ending
2017-18
2008-09 to 2017-18 change
% Volume % Volume % Point Change Volume Change
Male 78% 262 74% 136 ⇓ by 4% -126
Female 22% 72 26% 47 ⇑ by 4% -25
All recorded Homicide1 100% 334 100% 183 n/a -151

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding
Source:
Homicide National Statistics, 2017-18

Table 8: Attempted murder & Serious assault victims by gender,
2008-09 & 2017-18.

Victim’s Gender 2008-09 2017-18 2008-09 to 2017-18 change
% Est. Volume % Est. Volume % Point Change Est. Volume Change
Male 87% 5,650 80% 3,340 ⇓ by 7% -2,310
Female 13% 820 20% 850 ⇑ by 7% 30
Total Attempted murder & Serious assault1,2 100% 6,472 100% 4,189 n/a -2,283

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding; 2Based on a sample of crime records (550 from 2008-09 and 551 from 2017-18)
Source: Analysis of Police Recorded Crime records, 2008-09 & 2017-18.

Table 9: Robbery victims by gender, 2008-09 & 2017-18.

Victim’s Gender 2008-09 2017-18 2008-09 to 2017-18 change
% Est. Volume % Est. Volume % Point Change Est. Volume Change
Male / All male group 71% 2,100 60% 930 ⇓ by 11% -1,170
Female / All female group 27% 800 38% 590 ⇑ by 11% -210
Mixed Group / Other / Unknown 2% 60 2% 30 No change -30
Total Robbery1,2 100% 2,963 100% 1,556 n/a -1,407

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding; 2Based on a sample of crime records (501 from 2008-09 and 450 from 2017-18)
Source: Analysis of Police Recorded Crime records, 2008-09 & 2017-18

Table 10: Common assault victims by gender, 2014-15.

Victim’s Gender 2014-15
% Est. Volume
Male 49% 28,331
Female 49% 28,798
All recorded Common Assault1,2 100% 58,178

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding; 2Based on a sample of 500 crime records from 2014-15
Source: Analysis of Police Recorded Crime records, 2014-15

Table 11: All recorded Hospital Admissions due to Assault by gender,
2008-09 & 2017-18.

Gender 2008-09 2017-18 2008-09 to 2017-18 change
% Est. Volume % Est. Volume % Point Change Est. Volume Change
Male  87% 4,613 86% 2,047 ⇓ by 1% -2,566
Female  13% 673 14% 337 ⇑ by 1% -336
All hospital admissions due to assault1 100% 5,286 100% 2,384 n/a -2,902

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding
Source: ISD Scotland: Scottish Morbidity Record (SMR01), Unintentional Injuries Statistics, 2008-9 & 2017-18

4.1.3 Levels of repeat victimisation

 Key Findings:

The SCJS estimates that almost three-fifths of all violent crime in 2017-18 was experienced by repeat victims, who experienced an average of 3 incidents each.

The additional self-completion module of the SCJS on Partner abuse shows that in 2016-18[16], around three in five respondents (61%) who reported an incident of Partner abuse in the last 12 months had experienced more than one incident. 

Hospital Admissions data shows that in 2017-18, the proportion of people admitted to hospital due to an assault who also had an admission for assault in the last 5 years was 11%. 

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey

The SCJS enables us to explore how experiences of violence vary amongst victims and examine the concentration of crime. This includes what proportion of victims have experienced violence more than once in the last year, which is known as ‘repeat victimisation’[17]

Table 12 explores the volume of crime experienced by victims in more detail to outline the extent of repeat victimisation. It shows that 1.6% of adults were victims of a single violent incident over the year, with a smaller proportion of the population (0.7%) experiencing repeat victimisation (two or more violent crimes). These repeat victims are estimated to have experienced on average around 3 violent crimes each during 2017-18, whilst together this group of adults are estimated to have experienced almost three-fifths (59%) of all violent crime committed against adults over this period. The table also highlights that an even smaller proportion of the population (0.1%) were high frequency repeat victims who experienced five or more incidents each.

Figure 7 shows trends in single and repeat violent crime victimisation over time. It highlights that the proportion of adults experiencing only one incident of violence, or repeat victimisation (2+ or 5+ incidents) were all lower in 2017-18 than in 2008-09. 

The proportion experiencing two or more violent crimes has been below the 2008-09 baseline (1.6%) since 2010-11 with the exception of 2016-17 when the 1.1% estimate was not significantly different to the 2008-09 figure. The return to a significant decrease comparing 2008-09 and the latest figure suggests that the 2016-17 figure may have been an outlier in an otherwise declining trend.

However, although repeat victimisation is consistently very rare, the proportion of adults experiencing five or more violent crimes has shown a less consistent trend and has only been below the 2008-09 baseline figure (0.3%) in 2014-15 (0.2%) and 2017-18 (0.1%). As such it will be important to monitor these findings into the future to see whether the lower victimisation rate seen in 2017-18 is maintained.

Figure 7: Proportion of adults experiencing single or repeat violent crimes.

Figure 7: Proportion of adults experiencing single or repeat violent crimes.

Base: SCJS 2008/09 (16,000); 2009/10 (16,040); 2010/11 (13,010); 2012/13 (12,050); 2014/15 (11,470); 2016/17 (5,570); 2017/18 (5,480). Variable: PREVVIOLENT, INCVIOLENT.
Source: Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, 2017-18

The above results come from the face-to-face element of the SCJS. However, further information on repeat victimisation is available from the Partner abuse section of the SCJS self-completion module. In 2016-18, just under two-thirds (63%) of those who reported an incident of Partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview also reported at least one incident prior to this period. 

Respondents who reported Partner abuse within the 12 months prior to interview were asked how many incidents of abuse they had experienced within this time period. Excluding those who responded ‘don’t know / can’t remember’ or who did not wish to answer, around three in five respondents (61%) had experienced more than one incident. Overall, 23% had experienced one incident, 12% experienced two incidents, 6% experienced three incidents, and 5% experienced four or more incidents. A further 13% said that there were too many incidents to count. Figure 8 presents the findings.

Figure 8: Number of incidents of Partner abuse experienced in the 12 months prior to interview.

Figure 8: Number of incidents of Partner abuse experienced in the 12 months prior to interview.

Base: All respondents experiencing at least one type of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview (180). Variable: DA_6
Source: Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, 2017-18

Emergency Hospital Admissions for Assault

Data on Hospital Admissions for Assault provides further information about repeat victimisation in Scotland and demonstrates whether people have had a previous assault in the last 5 years or whether this is their first assault. It is important to note that this does not include previous assaults that resulted in minor injuries that did not require admission to hospital.

Table 13 shows that in 2017-18, the proportion of people admitted to hospital due to an assault who had any admissions for assault in the previous 5 years was 11%. This was higher for males than females (12% and 7% respectively). In 2008-09, the proportion of people admitted to hospital due to an assault who had any admissions for assault in the previous 5 years was higher than 2017-18, at 15%. As in 2017-18, this was higher for males (15%) than females (11%). 

Table 12: Proportion of violent crime experienced by repeat victims, by number of crimes experienced, 2017-18.

Number of Violent Crimes Experienced % of Population % of Violent Crime1
None 97.7% 0%
One 1.6% 41%
Two 0.5% 26%
Three 0.1% 4%
Four 0.1% 9%
Five or more 0.1% 20%
Two or more 0.7% 59%

1Based on a sample of 5,480 people. Variables used: PREVVIOLENT, INCVIOLENT.
Source: Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, 2017-18

Table 13: All repeat Hospital Admissions due to Assault in proceeding 5 years by gender, 2008-09 & 2017-18. 

Gender 5 years ending 2008-09 5 years ending  2017-18 2008-09 to 2017-18 change
% Est. Volume % Est. Volume % Point Change Est. Volume Change
Male 15.1% 697 11.8% 241 dArr; by 3.3% -456
Female 11.0% 74 6.8% 23 ⇑ by 4.2% -51
All repeat hospital admissions due to assault1 14.6% 771 11.1% 264 ⇓ by 3.5% -507

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding
Source: ISD Scotland: Scottish Morbidity Record (SMR01), Unintentional Injuries Statistics, 2008-9 & 2017-18

4.1.4 Where do victims live?  Deprivation[18] and violent crime

 Key Findings:

The 2017-18 SCJS finds that adults living in Scotland’s most deprived areas are more likely to have been victims of violence than those living elsewhere and that while the prevalence of violence has fallen in less deprived areas over recent years, it has not fallen in more deprived areas.

Analysis of Police Recorded Crime data provides similar results, with 31% of victims of Robbery estimated to have lived in the 15% most deprived areas, while 33% of victims of Attempted murder & Serious assault were resident in these areas.

In terms of violence in urban and rural areas, the SCJS found no difference between urban and rural prevalence of violence in 2017-18, whereas in 2008-09 adults living in urban areas where more likely to have been victims of violence than those living in rural areas. 

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey

Overall, the 2017-18 SCJS showed that adults living in the 15% most deprived areas in Scotland were almost twice as likely to have been victims of violence than people living elsewhere. The prevalence rate for adults living in the 15% most deprived areas (3.8% in 2017-18) has not shown any change since 2008-09, whereas the rate has reduced for those living in the rest of Scotland (from 3.8% to 2.1%).

While there is no statistically significant difference in the likelihood of having experienced violence between those who live in urban and rural areas, the most recent SCJS found that the likelihood of experiencing violence has decreased for those living in urban areas (from 4.6% to 2.5%), but has shown no change in rural areas.

Police Recorded Crime

Victims of the crime of Robbery typically live in areas of higher deprivation, with 31% of victims of Robbery estimated to have lived in Scotland’s 15% most deprived areas (Table 14). It is also notable that 83% of Robbery victims in 2017-18 are estimated to have lived in an urban area, while 70% of Scotland’s population live in those areas. Relatively few victims of Robbery live in a rural or small town setting (around 11% in 2017-18, compared to the 30% of Scotland’s population that lives in those areas).

A similar result was seen in an examination of crimes of Attempted murder & Serious assault, with 33% of victims in 2017-18 living in the 15% most deprived areas in Scotland, while 77% of victims of Attempted murder & Serious assault are estimated to have lived in an urban area (Table 15).

Table 14: Robbery recorded by location, SIMD and Urban / Rural classification, 2008-09 & 2017-18.

Location 2008-09 2017-18 2008-09 to 2017-18 change
% Est. Volume % Est. Volume % Point Change Est. Volume Change
15% Most Deprived Areas 29% 870 31% 480 No change -110
Rest of Scotland 65% 1,930 63% 980 No change -950
Unknown 5% 160 6% 100 No change -60
In an Urban Area 85% 2,500 83% 1,290 No change -1,260
In a Small Town 5% 160 8% 120 No change -40
In a Rural Area 5% 140 3% 50 No change -90
Unknown 5% 160 6% 100 No change -60
Total Robbery1,2 100% 2,963 100% 1,556 n/a -1,407

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding; 2Based on a sample of crime records (501 from 2008-09 and 450 from 2017-18)
Source: Analysis of Police Recorded Crime records, 2008-09 & 2017-18

Table 15: Attempted murder & Serious assault recorded by location, SIMD and Urban / Rural classification, 2008-09 & 2017-18. 

Location 2008-09 2017-18 2008-09 to 2017-18 change
% Est. Volume % Est. Volume % Point Change Est. Volume Change
15% Most Deprived Areas 38% 2,440 33% 1,400 No change -1,040
Rest of Scotland 56% 3,640 60% 2,530 No change -1,110
Unknown 6% 400 6% 270 No change -130
In an Urban Area 78% 5,060 77% 3,230 No change -1,830
In a Small Town 8% 530 9% 380 No change -150
In a Rural Area 7% 480 8% 320 No change -160
Unknown 6% 400 6% 270 No change -130
Total Attempted murder & Serious assault1,2 100% 6,472 100% 4,189 n/a -2,283

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding; 2Based on a sample of crime records (550 from 2008-09 and 551 from 2017-18)
Source: Analysis of Police Recorded Crime records, 2008-09 & 2017-18.

4.1.5 Injuries and the impact of violent crime

 Key Findings:

SCJS data shows two-thirds of violent crimes resulted in injury, although serious injuries were relatively rare.

Police Recorded Crime data shows that most Robbery and half of all Common assaults resulted in no injury. Where injuries were sustained, the majority were non-serious.

While serious injuries do result from crimes of violence, the majority of injuries sustained through Attempted murder & Serious assault were cuts that would leave a scar or disfigure but that were not caused by a sharp or bladed item, such as a knife.

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey

The 2017-18 SCJS found that two-thirds (66%) of violent crime resulted in injury, although serious injuries were rare. The most common incidents resulting in injuries were minor bruising or a black eye (60%), severe bruising (35%) and scratches or minor cuts (35%). More serious injuries such as broken bones occurred less frequently (Figure 9). 

The consequences of violent crime for victims extends beyond physical injury and can include emotional impact. The SCJS is the only dataset that captures the emotional impact of violence, and therefore provides more detail regarding the impact of violence in Scotland. The 2017-18 SCJS found that the most commonly reported emotional impacts reported by victims of violent crime were anger (reported in 45% of violent incidents) and annoyance (44%), which was similar to in previous years. Victims in just over a quarter of incidents (27%) said they experienced none of the listed emotional impacts, up from 10% in 2008-09 and 8% in 2016-17. 

When looking at the self-completion survey data, most (66%) respondents who reported experiencing at least one incident of Partner abuse in the last 12 months in 2016-18[19] reported at least one psychological effect as a result of the most recent (or only) incident of abuse. Women were more likely than men to report such effects, with 80% of women and 44% of men reporting a psychological impact. 

Figure 9: SCJS data showing type of injuries sustained as a proportion of violent incidents resulting in injury.

Figure 9: SCJS data showing type of injuries sustained as a proportion of violent incidents resulting in injury.

Base: Violent crime incidents where respondent was injured (70); Variable: QINW
Source: Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, 2017-18

The most common psychological impact was low self-esteem, which was reported by 46% of respondents. 

Police Recorded Crime

Most Robbery (60%) did not result in any injury in 2017-18 (Table 16). This trend remains the same from 2008-09 when most Robbery (67%) also did not include a record of physical injury. In the 40% of Robberies that did include injury in 2017-18, 32% of these injuries were at the level of Common assault and 8% were at the level of Serious assault. The majority (80%) of injuries sustained through Robbery were lower-harm injuries[20]

Most injuries (42%) resulting from Serious assault or Attempted murder in 2017-18 involved the victim sustaining cuts that would leave a scar or a permanent disfigurement where the injury was not caused by a sharp item (Table 17). Injuries that resulted from the use of a sharp item accounted for 24% of injuries sustained from Serious assault or Attempted murder in 2017-18.

Around half of all Common assault cases in 2014-15 (data not available for 2017-18) involved little or no injury to the victim, this includes incidents where there was a failed attempt at physical contact from perpetrator to victim and incidents where the perpetrator spat on the victim (9%)[21]. Most of the incidents (43%) with confirmed contact between victim and perpetrator resulted in no or very little injury, or no mention of injury in the police record. 

Around half of all Common assault cases in 2014-15 involved some degree of injury to the victim. The most frequently referred to injuries were scratches, lacerations and/or the drawing of blood (51% of cases), followed by bruising and/or swelling (42%), soreness and/or red marks (26%) and other injury types (15%)[22]. Of those records that note some kind of injury, almost three-quarters (72%) place at least some of those injuries around the head and neck area of the victim. 

Table 16: Level of physical injury sustained by the victim from Robbery, 2008-09 & 2017-18.

Level of Physical Injury Sustained by Victim 2008-09 2017-18 2008-09 to 2017-18 change
% Est. Volume % Est. Volume % Point Change Est. Volume Change
No Physical Injuries Reported 67% 1,990 60% 930 No Change -1,060
Common Assault Level Injury 27% 800 32% 500 No Change -300
Serious Assault Level Injury 6% 180 8% 120 No Change -60
Unknown - - * * * *
Total Robbery1,2,3 100% 2,963 100% 1,556 n/a -1,407

Note: Where no records were found a dash (-) has been used to signify this. Where a percentage is based on a low base, of less than five records, an asterisk (*) has been used to signify this.

1 Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding; 2Based on a sample of crime records (501 from 2008-09 and 450 from 2017-18); 3Where multiple injuries were sustained (or there was more than one injured victim), the most serious injury has been used to classify the case in the table. 

Source: Analysis of Police Recorded Crime records, 2008-09 & 2017-18

Table 17: Type of injury sustained by the victim from Attempted murder & Serious assault, 2008-09 & 2017-18.

Type of Physical Injury Sustained by Victim 2008-09 2017-18 2008-09 to 2017-18 change
% Est. Volume % Est. Volume % Point Change Est. Volume Change
Cuts / Permanent Disfugurement (not from sharp-item) 34% 2,210 42% 1,760 ⇑ by 8% -450
Broken Bones / Fractures 24% 1,550 30% 1,270 No change -280
Sharp-Item Related Injuries      (stab or slash wounds) 29% 1,890 24% 990 No change -900
Other1 (incl. minor / no injury) 13% 810 4% 170 ⇓ by 9% -640
Total Attempted murder & Serious assault2,3 100% 6,472 100% 4,189 n/a -2,283

Other injuries are collected as open text responses to capture injuries like bite marks, sore hands and scraped knuckles which cannot be coded under existing categories; 2Based on a sample of crime records (550 from 2008-09 and 551 from 2017-18); 3Where multiple injuries were sustained (or there was more than one injured victim), the most serious injury has been used to classify the case in the table.

Source: Analysis of Police Recorded Crime records, 2008-09 & 2017-18.

Contact

Email: Frances.warren@gov.scot

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