Scottish Crime and Justice Survey: interviewee information

Information for interviewees including what happens next if you’ve been selected for the SCJS, what happens to the data you provide, and other frequently asked questions.

If your household has been selected to take part in the survey, you will receive a letter and leaflet in the post that will give you key information about the survey, and what is involved in taking part. Additional information on the purpose of the survey and how information is handled in accordance with data protection legislation is available on our website. Answers to other frequently asked questions are available below.

Following delivery of the survey letter, an interviewer from one of our survey providers, Ipsos and ScotCen, will then call at your doorstep. Every interviewer carries an ID card which they should always show you. If you have any doubts about their identity, please telephone Freephone ScotCen Social Research on 0800 652 3751 or Ipsos on 0808 238 5376 (9.30 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday) or email

Interviewers will also carry copies of the survey letter and leaflets. So if for some reason you didn't see either, the interviewer will be happy to provide you with copies.

The interviewer will randomly select an adult in your household (aged 16 or over) to take part in the study and will explain the available ways to take part. This will depend on Scottish Government COVID-19 guidelines in place for surveys at the time.

An in-home interview will only be offered and take place if government guidelines allow and you are completely comfortable with this. Alternative interview options such as a remote telephone interview are available to you. 

Interviews can take place in the evenings and at weekends as well as during working hours, whichever time suits you best. If you have received a letter and wish to make an appointment, Freephone 0800 652 3751 (ScotCen) or 0808 238 5376 (Ipsos) and someone will call to arrange a time that suits you.

You can take a look at our latest findings to get a better idea of how the data that you give in the survey is used.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions, however if you still have unanswered questions about the survey, please get in touch with the SCJS Team via the contact details at the bottom of this page.

What is the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey?


The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) is a large-scale social survey which asks people about their experiences and perceptions of crime in Scotland. The survey is important because it provides a picture of crime in Scotland, including crimes that haven’t been reported to, or recorded by the police and captured in police recorded crime statisticsThe published survey does not contain any information that will identify any individual.

Findings from the SCJS are used by policy makers across the public sector, academia and third sector to help understand the nature of crime in Scotland, target resources and monitor the impact of initiatives. The results of this survey provide evidence to inform progress against the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework and a range of other metrics used across the justice system. The survey findings therefore help with the development and refinement of policies, programmes and services designed to improve the lives of the people of Scotland.

The survey data will also be shared to the Scottish National Safe Haven, a Trusted Research Environment, where the pseudonymised data can be linked to other data sets and used for approved research, which will also be for the benefit of the public.


As such, the survey is undertaken to provide evidence on and to inform matters of public interest, and complies with relevant data protection legislation.

Why have I been chosen?


Every year around 10,000 addresses are randomly selected from the Royal Mail address list and are invited to take part in the survey. Every type of household is included to ensure a wide cross-section of people to represent the experiences of the Scottish public.

One person (aged 16 and over) in each selected household will be randomly selected to be asked to take part in the survey. It is important that the selected household member is the one to answer the survey to ensure we get views from a range of different people across Scotland.

Why should I take part?


The findings of this survey are important to the Scottish Government and other public sector organisations in understanding and tackling crime in Scotland. To obtain the most reliable results it is vital to obtain information from all types of people living in Scotland. All experiences and opinions are important, even if you have not been the victim of crime. The more people who agree to take part, the more reliable the results of the survey will be. However, taking part in the survey is voluntary.

Who carries out the survey?


The survey is carried out by trained interviewers from Ipsos and ScotCen on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Any interviewer who calls about the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey will be from Ipsos or ScotCen, and they will have an identification card to show this.

If you are unsure, or have any questions please contact

Please leave a message with your name and a contact number and the reference number of your letter (if you have received one) and you will be contacted as quickly as possible.

What questions will the interviewer ask?


The survey has two sections. The interviewer will begin by asking questions on a range of topics including your experiences of crime, your perceptions of crime (both locally and nationally), as well as your views of the police and the justice system.

Towards the end of the survey the interviewer will then ask you to complete the second, shorter section of the survey independently, if possible, on their laptop or tablet. Alternatively, the interviewer will ask you to provide an email address to continue the survey online.

This section is done privately as it asks about some more sensitive topics including psychology and physical abuse, sexual victimisation and stalking and harassment. Survey participation is voluntary and is very important in helping us understand more about these issues, even if you may not have experienced any of them. We ask all respondents to the survey to complete this section – it is not based on any answers you have already provided.

Some questions may seem more personal than others, for example, as part of the survey, we collect demographic information about you and your household, such as age, gender, ethnicity and household income. We collect this information so that we can ensure that the survey results are representative of the people of Scotland. This allows us to monitor the experiences and perceptions of crime by different demographic and equality characteristics.

You may refuse to answer any question and do you not have to say why you did not want to provide an answer. If you are affected by any of the questions asked and want to get more support, please visit our victim support page.

How long will the survey take?


It depends on the answers you give to the questions you are asked, but the average interview length is around 40 minutes.

I have never experienced crime, should I still take part?


Yes. It is important we capture views from people who have experienced crime and those who have not. This enables us to produce reliable estimates of what proportion of people living in Scotland have been victims of crime.

The survey also asks questions which are not directly related to being a victim of crime, for example questions on the perceptions of crime, the police, and the justice system.

All experiences and opinions are important, therefore we encourage you to take part whether you have been a victim of crime or not.

Is the survey confidential?


Confidentiality is assured. The survey is undertaken by professional interviewers from Ipsos who all carry an official identification card.

The survey is strictly confidential. Your information is handled in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics procedures and the 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Survey data is sometimes provided to other approved organisations for genuine research purposes only (never market research).

The same standards of protection are applied to your information at all times. Data will only ever be used to produce statistics that will not identify you or anyone in your household.

This research will comply with the Market Research Society code of conduct.

The Scottish Government and the companies doing the survey on its behalf, Ipsos and ScotCen, handle your information carefully and in accordance with data protection legislation. No results are ever published which enables individual respondents to be identified.

When will the survey results be available?


Survey results are published once results from each round of 12 month data collection period are brought together and analysed.

Interviews are usually conducted between April and the following March, and then published in Spring the year after.

Our latest findings and previous publications can be found on the SCJS main page.

I have read this information, and have decided I do not want to take part. What should I do?


Taking part in the survey is voluntary and optional. Whilst we encourage everyone to take part, we appreciate sometimes this won’t be possible. If you receive an advance letter but don't want to take part, please call 0131 244 3012 or email and your name will be taken off the interview list.




To provide any feedback on the SCJS, or to request further information, please use the following contact details:


Telephone: 0131 244 3012

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