Recorded crime in Scotland: 'Other sexual crimes', 2013-2014 and 2016-2017
Report on ‘Other sexual crimes’ recorded by the police in the periods 2013 to 2014 and 2016 to 2017.
This document is part of a collection
Other sexual crimes
The ‘Other sexual crimes’ category is made up of 41 specific crimes within the National Statistics (a full list of these crimes and the number sampled is available in Annex A). Many of these crimes relate to similar types of offending, and for the purposes of the research were batched together within the following broad groups (with the percentage figure in brackets showing each group’s contribution to the total volume of ‘Other sexual crimes’ recorded in 2016-17):
- Communicating indecently (27%)
- Cause to view sexual activity or images (24%)
- Indecent photos of children (15%)
- Sexual activity with older children (10%)
- Sexual exposure (8%)
- Public indecency (5%)
- Voyeurism (4%)
These groups collectively covered 94% of crimes recorded within the ‘Other sexual crimes’ category in 2016-17, and they are referred to throughout this report to aid presentation of the findings of this research. The next section provides a definition for each of these groups, and some examples of the types of crime this might include – though there will be other kinds of ‘typical’ cases.
The remaining 6% of ‘Other sexual crimes’ is made up of 16 specific crimes which are very wide ranging in characteristics. These are not presented as a specific group (given their diversity) but remain included in the findings for all ‘Other sexual crimes’.
It should be noted that from 2017-18 the ‘Other sexual crimes’ category will also include crimes under the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016. This created a specific offence for disclosing, or threatening to disclose, an intimate image (sometimes referred to as ‘revenge porn’). As the relevant section of this legislation came into force in July 2017, after the most recent reporting year covered by this research, these crimes are not included in the findings.
Where the perpetrator makes sexual comments or sends written sexual communications to the victim, without their consent. This is to obtain sexual gratification or to cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm.
- A person for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratification intentionally sends a sexually explicit private message to another person on social media without the consent of the recipient.
- A person sits down next to a female on a bus and makes sexual comments to her. She is frightened and says nothing, she arrives at her stop and gets off the bus.
Cause to view sexual activity or sexual images
Where the perpetrator intentionally engages in a sexual activity in the presence of the victim or sends them a sexual image. This is to obtain sexual gratification or to cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm.
- A person receives a sexual image on their mobile phone. The image has been sent to them intentionally without the consent of the recipient.
- A male sits next to a female on a park bench and intentionally exposes his penis, and begins masturbating.
Indecent photos of children
Where the perpetrator takes, distributes, possesses or publishes any indecent photograph of a child.
- The police execute a warrant and find a hard drive, belonging to a perpetrator, containing multiple indecent images and videos of children sourced from the internet.
A small proportion of these crimes involve the sharing of images of children by child perpetrators who are known to the victim. These pictures may have originally been taken by the victim consensually and passed on.
Sexual activity with older children (13-15)
Where the perpetrator engages in consensual sexual intercourse or any other form of consensual sexual activity with an older child aged 13 to 15.
- An 18 year old male has consensual sexual intercourse with a 15 year old female.
- An older child aged 13 to 15 reports that they allowed their partner who is over 16 years of age to touch their genitals.
Where the perpetrator intentionally exposes their genitals in a sexual manner for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratification or to humiliate, distress or alarm the victim.
These crimes should not be cyber enabled, for example if a perpetrator exposes their genitals during a web chat this should be recorded as a ‘Cause to view a sexual image’ crime.
- A male sits next to a female on a park bench and intentionally exposes his penis.
- A naked male is standing at a window of a house in full view of passers-by knowing that he is being watched.
Where the perpetrator(s) indecently exposes themselves (for example streaking) or undertake sexual activity in a manner reckless as to who might see it.
- A group of males drop their trousers in the street, outside a pub.
- A couple is observed having sexual intercourse in a secluded wooded area.
Where the perpetrator observes or records the victim undertaking a private act, or records an image beneath their clothing, without their consent. This is to obtain sexual gratification or to cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm.
- A person enters a public toilet and by looking underneath a toilet cubicle, observes another person using the toilet.
- A person installs a camera in public changing rooms, which allows the person to view people in cubicles getting changed.
Email: Jamie Macfarlane, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
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