Publication - Statistics

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2017/18: main findings

Published: 26 Mar 2019

Main findings from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2017-18 and the self-completion findings covering the period 2016-17 to 2017-18.

186 page PDF

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186 page PDF

7.8 MB

Contents
Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2017/18: main findings
9. Summary chapters on SCJS self-completion modules

186 page PDF

7.8 MB

9. Summary chapters on SCJS self-completion modules

This section of the report presents results from the self-completion modules of the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey. These modules cover topics of a more sensitive nature and are therefore are completed by the interviewee privately, without the interviewer knowing the responses. In a small proportion of cases, if the respondent was unable or unwilling to complete the questionnaire themselves but was happy to answer the questions, the interviewer administered (at least some of) the questionnaire on their behalf (see the Technical Report for more detail).

The topics covered in the self-completion modules, and in this section of the report, are:

As some respondents choose to not complete the self-completion questionnaire, the response rate and sample size is lower than the overall survey. In order to provide suitable sample sizes, 2016/17 and 2017/18 data has been combined to carry out analysis. The time period for the latest figures are referred to as 2016/18 throughout the self-completion results. Where relevant, examination of changes over time compares the latest findings with 2008/09 and the last self-completion results from 2014/15.

Due to a change in the survey in 2016/17, there were some issues with scripting and data collection. This has meant that the Illicit Drug Use chapter only covers data from 2017/18, and the other self-completion sections present results derived from data from 2016/17 Quarter 2 (July to September) up to the end March 2018 (so exclude data collected from April to June 2016). More details on these issues and an explanation of why these mitigating steps were taken can be found in the Technical Report, however it should be noted that the underlying data used to derive the results presented in the report has been assessed to be robust.

Tables on the data covered in this report, and some additional findings, can be found on the SCJS webpages.

9.1 Illicit Drug Use

The aim of the illicit drug use questionnaire is to provide an insight into the prevalence of drug use in Scotland amongst those aged 16 or over.

Three different time periods are considered: whether respondents have used drugs at some point in their lives (ever), in the last 12 months, and in the last month (prior to answering the survey). Reported behaviour ‘in the last 12 months[116]’ is considered to be the most stable measure of drug use, especially when comparing use over time, and so this reference period is used most throughout this chapter.

The figures in this chapter refer to the results of interviews with almost 5,000 respondents in 2017/18[117]. Further details on why 2016/17 data is not included can be found in the Technical Report.

Drugs included

Respondents were asked about their usage of 19 drugs. The majority of these drugs were illicit at the time of the survey, but the list also included some drugs which were not controlled. These were namely poppers, glues, solvents, gas or aerosol. These have been included in analysis of adults reporting drug use in Scotland. Any analysis that excludes the drugs which are not illicit clearly states so.

The drugs are categorised in some of the analysis by composite group in accordance with the Drugs Wheel[118]: Cannabinoids, Stimulants, Opioids, Depressants, Psychedelics, Dissociatives, Empathogens, and an additional category of Steroids; and by their classification: Class A, B or C (as defined in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971). A full list of the drugs and their categorisations can be found in Annex D.

It is important to note that drugs is a dynamic area with new substances appearing on the market and relatively frequent changes to legal classification. This is reflected in the survey design.

For example, most novel psychoactive substances (sometimes known as ‘legal highs’) are now covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, with some explicitly listed under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Other drugs, such as Ketamine, have been reclassified within the Misuse of Drugs Act. These changes in classification have the potential to impact on overall rates of illicit drug use.

New drugs which were not previously widely available have also been included in the survey, for example GHB/GBL was included in the 2017/18 survey but was not in the preceding sweeps. Most new drugs included only account for a small proportion of reported drug usage, for example in 2017/18 0.4% of respondents reported ever taking GHB/GBL. Alternatively, some drugs which were previously asked about in the survey are no longer included. Therefore, any comparisons made with previous years’ in this chapter should be treated with caution.

What was the prevalence of drug use in Scotland in 2017/18?

Looking at comparable measures[119], where the drug types included in the survey are generally consistent over time, drug use has increased since 2014/15 from 6.0% to 7.4%, but is unchanged since 2008/09.

In 2017/18, 7.4% of respondents reported taking one or more of these drugs in the last 12 months. This has increased from 6.0% in 2014/15, but is unchanged since 2008/09 (7.6%).

Table 9.1 shows the percentage of respondents reporting drug use in the three time periods; ever, in the last 12 months, and in the last month. It is important to note that some drugs included in the ‘prescription only painkillers that were not prescribed to you’ category may include variants which are of such low strength they are exempt from almost all controlled drug requirements. As they were included in the survey for the first time in 2017/18, for comparability, the figures in Table 9.1 below exclude non-illicit drugs and prescription only painkillers that were not prescribed to the respondent.

Table 9.1: Percentage reporting use of comparable illicit drugs, 2008/09 to 2017/18

Time period 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2012/13 2014/15 2017/18 Percentage point change
Change since 2008/09 Change since 2014/15
Ever 25.6% 25.2% 23.7% 23.0% 22.1% 27.8% ↑ by 2.2 ↑ by 5.7
In the last 12 months 7.6% 7.2% 6.6% 6.2% 6.0% 7.4% No change ↑ by 1.4
In the last month 4.4% 4.2% 3.5% 3.3% 3.3% 3.6% No change No change
Number of respondents 10,960 13,410 10,980 10,220 9,970 4,890    

Variables: QEVE_ANY; Q12M_ANY; Q1M_ANY

The percentage of respondents reporting that they had ever taken one or more comparable illicit drug (27.8%) is an increase on the percentage in 2014/15 (22.1%) and in 2008/09 (25.6%). This increase is predominately driven by an increase in respondents reporting taking cannabis. However, it is recommended these changes are interpreted with caution as this is a lifetime measurement so would not be expected to change much, if at all, over this relatively short period of time. As well as a potentially true increase in usage in the underlying adult population, there a number of other factors which may contribute to this increase in the overall figure. For example, public and media focus on the debate around legalisation of some drugs, such as cannabis, may have affected views on acceptable usage and willingness to report personal use of drugs in surveys such as this. It will be important to monitor this in the future.

9.5% of respondents reported having taken one or more of any of the listed drugs in the last 12 months.

Of these listed drugs[120], however, not all are illicit. When excluding non-illicit drugs[121], 9.3% of respondents reported having taken one or more illicit drug in the last 12 months. Figures on the proportion of adults who reported using each individual listed drug in the 12 months prior to interview, as well as ever, are available in the supporting data tables.

11.6% of adults reported that someone had offered to give or sell them at least one type of listed drug in the last 12 months.

Just over one-in-ten adults (11.6%) reported being offered drgus in the 12 months prior to interview in 2017/18. This has decreased from 13.7% in 2008/09. The most common drug respondents stated they had been offered in the last 12 months was cannabis (8.5%).

Around half (50%) or respondents who had been offered drugs in the last 12 months had taken at least one of the drugs asked about in the survey in the year prior to interview. Of those who had not taken drugs in the last 12 months, 6% said they had been offered drugs in that time period.

The most common age for first trying drugs was in the late teens (16 to 19 years old).

Over two-fifths (44%) of respondents who reported having ever taken drugs said that they were aged between 16 and 19 when they took their first drug, as shown in Figure 9.1.

Figure 9.1: Age respondents took first drug

Figure 9.1: Age respondents took first drug

Base: All respondents ever taking drugs (1,380). Variable: QDRAGE

What types of drugs were most commonly used in 2017/18?

The most commonly reported drug used in the last 12 months was cannabis.

Respondents who reported taking drugs in the last 12 months were asked what drugs they had taken in that time period. Cannabis was the most commonly reported drug, with 70% of respondents who had taken any drugs in the last 12 months reporting they had taken cannabis.

Of those who had taken cannabis in the last 12 months, over half (59%) had not taken any other drugs in the same time period. Just over a quarter (28%) said it was something they ‘only tried once or twice’, 60% said they had taken cannabis ‘more than once or twice but would not or did not have difficulty giving up’, and 10% said it was something they needed or were dependent on at some point in the last 12 months.

The 2017/18 survey also provides the first estimates on use of synthetic cannabis (also known as ‘spice’). Of those who had taken drugs in the last 12 months, 2% said they had taken synthetic cannabis.

Figure 9.2 below shows the drugs taken in the last 12 months reported (by those who have taken any drugs in the last 12 months).

Figure 9.2: Percentage of respondents who had taken any drug in the last 12 months taking each drug type in the last 12 months

Figure 9.2: Percentage of respondents who had taken any drug in the last 12 months taking each drug type in the last 12 months

Base: All respondents taking drugs in the last 12 months (370). Variable: Q12M

Note: drugs reported by less than 1% have been omitted from this chart. These are glues, solvents, gas or aerosols; anabolic steroids; and GHB/GBL.

The percentages total to more than 100% as respondents could select multiple answers.

Cannabis was the drug which respondents most commonly reported taking in their lifetime.

Around a quarter (25.5%) of all respondents reported having ever taken cannabis, up from 22.9% in 2008/09. This was significantly more than the proportion of respondents who reported having taken any of the other drugs asked about, with the next commonly reported being prescription only painkillers that were not prescribed to you (9.1%), Ecstasy (8.7%) and Cocaine (8.6%).

Respondents are also asked if they had ever taken ‘legal highs’[122], known as Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS), even if it was a long time ago. Out of all respondents, 1.8% reported that they had. This was higher amongst those aged between 25 and 44 than those aged 45 to 59 and 60 or over, with 4.3% of them having tried ‘legal highs’ compared to 0.7% and 0.2%, respectively. There was no difference between the proportion of those aged 16 to 24 and 25 to 44 having taken legal highs.

Cannabinoids were the most common category of drug taken.

Drugs included in the survey were grouped into categories using the Drugs Wheel[123]; more information of these groups, and drug classes, is outlined in Annex D.

Of those who reported taking drugs in the last 12 months, the most common type of drug taken in the last 12 months were cannabinoids (70%). Figure 9.3 shows the percentages who reported taking each type of drug in the last 12 months.

Figure 9.3: Percentage taking drugs in each category in the last 12 months, of those who had taken any drug in the last 12 months

Figure 9.3: Percentage taking drugs in each category in the last 12 months, of those who had taken any drug in the last 12 months

Base: All respondents taking drugs in the last 12 months (370). Variable: Q12M

Class B were the most common class of drug taken.

Class B (which includes Cannabis) were the most commonly taken class of drugs in the last 12 months, with 71% of respondents who had taken any drug in the last 12 months having taken a Class B drug; 26% of respondents a Class A drug; and 7% a Class C drug. Although not presented in this summary report, if comparing changes in the use of different classes of drugs over time, it is important to note that the classifications of certain drugs (for example Ketamine) have changed over time, which may contribute to changes in the different class groups over time.

Are some population groups more likely to have used drugs?

The percentage of respondents who reported taking drugs in the last 12 months varied by characteristics of the respondents such as their gender, age, victim status (whether a victims of a crime in the main SCJS questionnaire) and by area deprivation (SIMD). Table 9.2 below shows the percentage of all respondents who reported taking drugs in the last 12 months, by these characteristics. Findings on drug use ‘ever’ by such breakdowns are provided in online data tables.

Table 9.2: Percentage taking drugs in each category in the last 12 months, by demographic and area characteristics

Characteristics % of adults Base
Gender Male 9.4% 2,250
Female 5.5% 2,640
Age-group 16-24 19.2% 380
25-44 12.3% 1,370
45-59 3.4% 1,270
60 or over 0.5% 1,870
Victim status in main questionnaire Victim 14.2% 560
Non-victim 6.4% 4,320
Socio-economic deprivation 15% most deprived 10.4% 670
Rest of Scotland 6.9% 4,210
All adults 7.4% 4,880

Variable: Q12M. Note: these figures exclude poppers, glues, solvents, gas or aerosols and prescription only painkillers that were not prescribed to the respondent to enable comparability between years[124].

Gender

A higher percentage of male respondents than female respondents reported taking one or more illicit drug, both in the last 12 months and ever (9.4% compared to 5.5%, and 34.1% compared to 22.0%, respectively).

Age

Those aged 16 to 24 were most likely to have taken drugs in the last 12 months, with almost one-in-five (19.2%) in this category reporting use compared to around one-in-two-hundred of those aged 60 and over (0.5%).

Victim status

Of those who were victims of SCJS crime[125] in the main SCJS survey, 14.2% reported having taken illicit drugs in the last 12 months. This is higher than the 6.4% of those who were not classified as victims of SCJS crime.

Almost two-fifths (40%) of those who classified as victims in the main survey reported having ever taken illicit drugs, compared to 26% of those who were not classified as victims.

Deprivation

Those living in the 15% most deprived areas of Scotland were more likely to report having taken illicit drugs in the last 12 months (10.4%), than those who lived in the rest of Scotland (6.9%).

When looking at those who reported ever taking drugs however, there was no significant difference between those living in more and less deprived areas.

9.2 Stalking and Harassment

Respondents of the SCJS are asked about their experiences of stalking and harassment in the 12 months prior to interview, including victim-offender relationships and reporting to the police.

Further results on experiences of harassment and discrimination (based on questions in the main survey about being insulted, pestered or intimidated) are provided in an earlier section of this report.

The Stalking and Harassment self-completion module of the SCJS asks respondents if they have experienced, more than once, one or more of the following types of incidents:

  • Being sent unwanted letters or cards on a number of occasions
  • Being sent unwanted emails or text messages or posts on social media sites on a number of occasions
  • Receiving a number of unwanted phone calls
  • Having someone waiting outside their home or workplace on more than one occasion
  • Being followed around on more than one occasion
  • Having intimate pictures of them shared without their consent, for example by text, on a website, or on a social media site on more than one occasion

The stalking and harassment questions in the SCJS were updated with effect from 2016/17 in order to improve the quality of the data collected, and make the data more useful for capturing the different types of stalking and harassment that people experience. The experience question was changed to include the term ‘more than once’ which may also have an effect on the results. Due to these changes in the questionnaire, it is advised that users do not directly compare these results with previous years. This will be monitored in upcoming years, with the 2016/18 results from the updated question used as a baseline for future comparisons.

The question in the SCJS differs from the official legislation which defines stalking as an offence[126]. This chapter however provides information on the six behaviours outlined above, each of which can be viewed as a form of stalking and harassment. The data do not show whether respondents themselves viewed their experiences as stalking or harassment; some respondents may also have included incidents which would not be classed as stalking and harassment, for example, potentially, receiving cold-calling sales phone calls.

The figures in this section refer to the two years 2016/17 and 2017/18 combined. This is referred to throughout the chapter as 2016/18. For more information, see the Technical Report.

What can the 2016/18 SCJS results tell us about stalking and harassment in Scotland?

In the 12 months prior to interview, 11.1% of adults experienced at least one type of stalking and harassment.

Just over one-in-ten adults (11.1%) reported experiencing at least one type of stalking and harassment in the year prior to interview. Over the same period 5.8% reported experiencing more than one type.

Figure 9.4 below shows the percentage of respondents who reported experiencing the different forms of stalking and harassment in the 12 months prior to interview in 2016/18.

Figure 9.4: Percentage of respondents reporting experiencing stalking and harassment in the 12 months prior to interview

Figure 9.4: Percentage of respondents reporting experiencing stalking and harassment in the 12 months prior to interview

Base: All respondents (8,830). Variable: SH_0

What can the 2016/18 SCJS results tell us about the types stalking and harassment most commonly experienced?

The most common type of stalking and harassment reported in the SCJS was being sent unwanted messages by text, or email, or posts on social media sites.

Figure 9.5 below shows the distribution of different types of stalking and harassment amongst those who experienced at least one form of stalking and harassment. The most common type of stalking and harassment involved being sent unwanted messages by text, email, messenger or posts on social media sites. This was experienced by 67% of all those who had experienced at least one form of stalking and harassment.

Figure 9.5: Type of stalking and harassment experienced in the 12 months prior to interview, as a percentage of respondents experiencing at least one form

Figure 9.5: Type of stalking and harassment experienced in the 12 months prior to interview, as a percentage of respondents experiencing at least one form

Base: All respondents experiencing at least one type of stalking & harassment in the 12 months prior to interview (930). Variable: SH_0

Around half of victims knew the offender in some way.

The relationship between victims and offenders is not always straightforward. Around half (50%) of respondents who experienced at least one form of stalking and harassment in the 12 months prior to interview reported having known the offender(s) in some way, while 13% said the offender was their partner. Just over two-fifths (41%) of respondents said the offender was someone they had never seen before.

Of those who had experienced more than one form of stalking and harassment in the 12 months prior to interview, 37% said that the same offender was involved.

Figure 9.6 below shows the relationship between the victim and offender(s) in relation to the most recent (or only) incident of stalking or harassment in the 12 months prior to interview.

Figure 9.6: The relationship of the offender to the respondent for the most recent (only) incident in the 12 months prior to interview

Figure 9.6: The relationship of the offender to the respondent for the most recent (only) incident in the 12 months prior to interview

Base: All respondents experiencing at least one type of stalking & harassment in the 12 months prior to interview (930). Variable: SH_2

The police were informed about the most recent incident in around one-in-ten cases.

Respondents who had experienced at least one incident of stalking and harassment in the 12 months prior to interview were asked if the police were informed about the most recent (or only) incident. Of these respondents, just under one-in-ten (9%) said that the police came to know about the most recent incident.

There was no significant difference between the proportion of men and women who reported the most recent incident to the police (11% and 7%, respectively).

Reporting behaviour to the police varied according to the type of stalking and harassment, with reporting rates highest amongst those who had someone loitering outside their home or workplace. Figure 9.7 below shows the results for the types of stalking and harassment. Note that having intimate pictures of themselves without their consent is not included in this due to the small number of respondents reporting this.

Figure 9.7: Percentage of respondents who had experienced each type of stalking & harassment, in the 12 months prior to interview, who reported the police came to know about the most recent (or only) incident

Figure 9.7: Percentage of respondents who had experienced each type of stalking and harassment, in the 12 months prior to interview, who reported the police came to know about the most recent (or only) incident

Base: All respondents experiencing, in the 12 months prior to interview, loitering outside their home or workplace (110); being followed (90); unwanted phone calls made (520); sent unwanted letters or cards (230); sent you unwanted messages by text, email, messenger, or posts on social media sites (610). Variable: SH_6

The most common reason for not reporting the most recent (or only) incident to the police was that the respondent felt the incident was too trivial/not worth reporting (44%), followed by the victim dealing with the incident themselves (30%).

Are some population groups more likely to have experienced stalking and harassment?

Experiences of stalking and harassment varied by age group and victim status in the main questionnaire[127]. Table 9.3 below shows the varying proportion of respondents experiencing at least one form of stalking and harassment in the 12 months prior to interview, by respondent characteristics.

Table 9.3: Experience of stalking and harassment by demographic and area characteristics

Characteristics % of adults Base
Gender Male 10.5% 4,050
Female 11.6% 4,780
Age-group 16-24 19.0% 690
25-44 13.9% 2,480
45-59 8.7% 2,390
60 or over 6.7% 3,260
Victim status in main questionnaire Victim 19.1% 1,020
Non-victim 9.9% 7,800
Socio-economic deprivation 15% most deprived 13.3% 1,220
Rest of Scotland 10.7% 7,610
All adults 11.1% 8,830

Variable: SH_0

Gender

Table 9.3 shows that the survey found no difference in the proportion experiencing stalking and harassment in the 12 months prior to interview for men and women (10.5% and 11.6%, respectively).

Looking at the gender split by type of stalking and harassment, more women than men reported being followed (1.6% compared to 0.6%, respectively) or receiving unwanted messages by text, email, messenger, or posts on social media (8.4% compared to 6.5%, respectively).

Figure 9.8 below shows the gender split of those who reported experiencing each of the types stalking and harassment[128].

Figure 9.8: Gender of victims of types of stalking and harassment, as a proportion of those experiencing that type of stalking and harassment in the 12 months prior to interview

Figure 9.8: Gender of victims of types of stalking and harassment, as a proportion of those experiencing that type of stalking and harassment in the 12 months prior to interview

Base: All respondents, in the 12 months prior to interview, experiencing loitering outside their home or workplace (110); being followed (90); unwanted phone calls made (520); sent unwanted letters or cards (230); sent you unwanted messages by text, email, messenger, or posts on social media sites (610). Variable: SH_6

Age

Experiences of at least one form of stalking and harassment were higher amongst those aged 16 to 24 (19.0%), than any other age group.

The results have also been broken down by both age and gender together, as notable differences in experience of stalking and harassment between genders within different age groups were expected. These figures can be found in full in the online data tables (for this finding and a range of other measures across the survey).

Experiences of stalking and harassment were higher among women aged 16 to 24 (26.9%), compared to men of the same age (12.1%).

Victim Status

Those who reported being a victim of a crime in the main survey were more likely to report having experienced stalking and harassment. Almost a fifth (19.1%) of those who reported being a victim in the main survey also reported experiencing stalking and harassment, compared to 9.9% of those who did not report themselves as victims in the main survey.

Around half (50%) of those who had experienced stalking and harassment in the 12 months prior to interview had also experienced partner abuse in the same period.

Deprivation

There was no difference in the proportion experiencing stalking and harassment between those living in the 15% most deprived areas and the rest of Scotland.

9.3 Partner Abuse

Respondents to the SCJS are asked about their experiences of partner[129] abuse since the age of 16 and in the 12 months prior to interview, both psychological and physical.

Partner abuse in the SCJS is defined as ‘any form of physical, non-physical or sexual abuse, which takes place within the context of a close relationship, committed either in the home or elsewhere. This relationship will be between partners (married, co-habiting or otherwise) or ex-partners.’ This definition is consistent with the definition adopted by Police Scotland in recording domestic violence.

The definition of partner abuse in Scotland in the future will also include psychological abuse in accordance with the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018[130]. The types of psychological abuse asked about in the survey already capture some elements of this, however stakeholder engagement will be taking place over the next year to review the partner abuse section of the survey and consider whether the question set should be updated.

The definition of partner abuse is not introduced at the start of the survey and the terms ‘partner abuse’ or ‘domestic abuse’ are not used in the survey until the final question of the section. Rather respondents are asked to identify which, if any, of the following psychological and physical abusive behaviours they have experienced since the age of 16, and in the 12 months prior to interview:

Psychological partner abuse

  • Stopped you having your fair share of the household money or taken money from you
  • Stopped you from seeing friends and relatives
  • Repeatedly put you down so that you felt worthless
  • Behaved in a jealous or controlling way
  • Forced you to view material which you considered to be pornography
  • Threatened to kill or attempted to kill themselves as a way of making you do something or stopping you from doing something
  • Threatened to, attempted to or actually hurt themselves as a way of making you do something or stopping you from doing something
  • Threatened you with a weapon, for example an ashtray or a bottle
  • Threatened to hurt you
  • Threatened to hurt someone close to you, such as your children, family members, friends or pets
  • Threatened to hurt your other/previous partner
  • Threatened to kill you

Physical partner abuse

  • Pushed you or held you down
  • Kicked, bitten, or hit you
  • Thrown something at you with the intention of causing harm
  • Choked or tried to strangle/smother you
  • Used a weapon against you, for example an ashtray or a bottle
  • Forced you or tried to force you to have sexual intercourse when you did not want to
  • Forced you or tried to force you to take part in another sexual activity when you did not want to

There may be some overlap between the incidents of partner abuse detailed in this chapter, and the incidents of stalking and harassment and sexual victimisation detailed in elsewhere in this report which are asked about in separate parts of the self-completion questionnaire. Given that sexual victimisation and partner abuse can involve similar behaviours and experiences, it is possible that some incidents detailed in this report are duplicated in the sexual victimisation chapter. It is also possible that some partner abuse detailed in this report constituted sexual victimisation and/or stalking and harassment, but were not viewed or reported as such by respondents.

It is important to note that the results presented in this chapter are respondent’s self-reported views of incidents.

The latest results presented below are from two sweeps of the SCJS combined (2016/17 and 2017/18). This is referred to throughout the chapter as 2016/18. For more information, see the Technical Report.

What can the 2016/18 SCJS results tell us about partner abuse in Scotland?

15.6% of adults have experienced at least one incident of partner abuse since the age of 16.

Overall, 15.6% of respondents[131] reported experiencing at least one form of partner abuse, either psychological or physical, since the age of 16. This is an increase on the 2014/15 figure (14.1%), but a decrease since 2008/09 (18.2%). Table 9.4 shows the time series since 2008/09. However, it is recommended these changes are interpreted with caution as this is a lifetime measurement so would not be expected to change much, if at all, over this relatively short period of time.

Table 9.4: Percentage of respondents experiencing types of partner abuse since the age of 16, 2008/09 to 2016/18[132]

Abuse type 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2012/13 2014/15 2016/18 Percentage point change
Change since 2008/09 Change since 2014/15
Psychological abuse 15.1% 13.4% 13.4% 12.0% 12.2% 13.8% No change ↑ by 1.6
Physical abuse 13.2% 11.9% 12.0% 9.2% 9.6% 10.2% ↓ by 3.0 No change
Both psychological and physical abuse 10.0% 8.9% 9.1% 7.4% 7.7% 8.4% ↓ by 1.6 No change
Any psychological or physical abuse 18.2% 16.4% 16.3% 13.8% 14.1% 15.6% ↓ by 2.8 ↑ by 1.5
Number of respondents 10,110 12,730 10,400 9,650 9,310 8,110    

Base: All respondents who have had a partner since the age of 16. Variables: DA_1i; DA_1ii; DA1iii; DA_1iv

The proportion of respondents reporting having experienced at least one incident of psychological abuse since the age of 16 (13.8%) was higher than those reporting having experienced at least one incident of physical abuse (10.2%). 8.4% of respondents reported experiencing both psychological and physical abuse.

Of respondents who had a partner or contact with an ex-partner in the 12 months prior to interview, 3.0% experienced at least one incident of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview; 2.6% had experienced psychological abuse; 1.3% had experienced physical abuse; and 0.9% had experienced both psychological and physical abuse. More respondents had experienced psychological abuse than physical abuse. Figure 9.9 below shows these results.

Figure 9.9: Percentage of respondents experiencing types of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview and since age 16

Figure 9.9: Percentage of respondents experiencing types of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview and since age 16

Base: All respondents who have had a partner since the age of 16 (8,110); all respondents who have had a partner or contact with an ex-partner in the 12 months prior to interview (6,040). Variables: DA_1i; DA_1iii

Experiences of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview have decreased since 2008/09.

Table 9.5 below shows the trend in experiencing partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview between 2008/09 and 2016/18.

Between 2008/09 and 2016/18, the proportion of respondents who had a partner, or contact with an ex-partner, in the 12 months prior to interview who reported experiencing any partner abuse decreased from 4.2% to 3.0%. Looking at the two categories of partner abuse, the proportion experiencing psychological abuse decreased from 3.4% to 2.6%, and the proportion experiencing physical abuse decreased from 2.2% to 1.3%. There were no significant changes in any of the categories between 2014/15 and 2016/18.

Table 9.5: Percentage of respondents experiencing types of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview, 2008/09 to 2016/18[133]

Abuse type 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2012/13 2014/15 2016/18 Percentage point change
Change since 2008/09 Change since 2014/15
Psychological abuse 3.4% 2.9% 2.4% 2.3% 2.5% 2.6% ↓ by 0.8 No change
Physical abuse 2.2% 1.7% 1.7% 1.5% 1.5% 1.3% ↓ by 0.9 No change
Both psychological and physical abuse 1.4% 1.1% 1.1% 1.0% 1.0% 0.9% No change No change
Any psychological or physical abuse 4.2% 3.5% 3.1% 2.8% 2.9% 3.0% ↓ by 1.2 No change
Number of respondents 6,750 9,470 7,650 7,180 6,930 6,040    

Base: All respondents who have had a partner or contact with an ex-partner in the 12 months prior to interview. Variables: DA_1i; DA_1ii; DA1iii; DA_1iv

How often do people experience partner abuse and who are the offenders?

Partner abuse is often experienced on multiple occasions.

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. Around a quarter of respondents said that they either didn’t know or couldn’t remember (26%) and 16% said they didn’t want to answer. Figure 9.10 below presents the findings.

Figure 9.10: Number of incidents of partner abuse experienced in the 12 months prior to interview

Figure 9.10: 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

Almost two-thirds of respondents reported having one abusive partner.

Of those who had experienced at least one incident of partner abuse since the age of 16, 62% reported having one abusive partner only. A further 13% reported that they had two abusive partners since they were 16, and 9% reported having had three or more abusive partners. The remaining respondents either did not wish to answer (9%) or did not know (7%).

Respondents were asked to state the gender of any abusive partners. Of those who had experienced partner abuse since the age of 16, 67% said the abuser was male, and 30% said the abuser was female. Less than 1% stated that both male and female partners had perpetuated abuse.

Breaking this down by the gender of respondents, Figure 9.11 shows that abusive partners were overwhelmingly of the opposite gender. That said, however, male respondents were more likely to be victims of a male perpetrator than female respondents were to be victims of a female perpetrator.

Figure 9.11: Gender of perpetrator of partner abuse, by gender of respondent

Figure 9.11: Gender of perpetrator of partner abuse, by gender of respondent

Base: All respondents experiencing at least one type of partner abuse since aged 16 (1,320). Variable: DA_1vi

Are some population groups more likely to have experienced partner abuse?

This section examines the relationship between gender, age, victim status[134] and deprivation on experience of partner abuse, both since the age of 16 and in the 12 months prior to interview.

Within the age section, the results have also been broken down by age and gender, as notable differences in partner abuse between genders within different age groups were expected.

Gender

Table 9.6 below shows how the proportion of respondents experiencing partner abuse varied by gender.

When looking at experiences of types of partner abuse, in the 12 month period prior to interview, experiences of partner abuse were more common for women than men (3.6% and 2.3%, respectively). Women were more likely to experience psychological abuse than men (3.5% and 1.8%, respectively). However, the proportion who experienced physical abuse did not vary between women and men (1.3% and 1.2%, respectively).

Since the age of 16, women were almost twice as likely as men to have experienced partner abuse (20.0% and 10.9%, respectively). A higher proportion of women than men reported psychological abuse; physical abuse; and both psychological and physical abuse since the age of 16.

Table 9.6: Percentage of respondents experiencing types of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview and since age 16, by gender

  In the 12 months prior to interview Since age 16
Male Female Male Female
Psychological abuse 1.8% 3.5% 8.7% 18.6%
Physical abuse 1.2% 1.3% 6.5% 13.7%
Both psychological and physical abuse 0.7% 1.2% 4.3% 12.3%
Any psychological or physical abuse 2.3% 3.6% 10.9% 20.0%

Base: All male respondents who have had a partner or contact with an ex-partner in the 12 months prior to interview (2,950); all female respondents who have had a partner or contact with an ex-partner in the 12 months prior to interview (3,090); all male respondents who have had a partner since age 16 (3,700); all female respondents who have had a partner since age 16 (4,410). Variables: DA_1i; DA_1ii; DA1iii; DA_1iv

Age

Table 9.7 below shows how the proportion of respondents who experienced partner abuse, both within the 12 months prior to interview and since the age of 16, varied with age. Experience of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview was highest amongst 16 to 24 year age-group (8.5%).

Table 9.7: Percentage of respondents experiencing partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview and since age 16, by age

  In the 12 months prior to interview Since age 16
16 to 24 years 8.5% 20.9%
25 to 44 years 3.8% 19.9%
45 to 59 years 2.3% 17.3%
60 years or over 0.4% 7.7%

Base: All respondents who have had a partner or contact with an ex-partner in the 12 months prior to interview aged 16-24 (400), 25-44 (1,990), 45-59 (1,790), 60+ (1,850); all respondents who have had a partner since age 16 aged 16-24 (510), 25-44 (2,330), 45-59 (2,260), 60+ (3,010). Variables: DA_1i; DA_1ii; DA1iii; DA_1iv

Table 9.8 below shows experience of partner abuse broken down further, by age within gender. Within the 12 months prior to interview women aged 16 to 24 were more likely than any other age group of women to have experienced partner abuse (9.9%). Within this time period there was no significant difference between men and women aged 16 to 24. Since the age of 16, women were more likely to have experienced partner abuse than men for all the age categories.

Table 9.8: Percentage of respondents experiencing types of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview and since age 16, by age and gender

  In the 12 months prior to interview Since age 16
Male Female Male Female
16 to 24 years 7.3% 9.9% 13.9% 28.5%
25 to 44 years 3.3% 4.3% 16.1% 23.4%
45 to 59 years 1.5% 3.2% 10.9% 23.4%
60 years or over 0.2% 0.5% 4.2% 10.8%

Base: All male respondents who have had a partner or contact with an ex-partner in the 12 months prior to interview aged 16-24 (180), 25-44 (890), 45-59 (880), 60+ (1,010); all female respondents who have had a partner or contact with an ex-partner in the 12 months prior to interview aged 16-24 (220), 25-44 (1,110), 45-59 (910), 60+ (850); all male respondents who have had a partner since age 16 aged 16-24 (240), 25-44 (1,040), 45-59 (1,080), 60+ (1,350); all female respondents who have had a partner since age 16 aged 16-24 (280), 25-44 (1,290), 45-59 (1,180), 60+ (1,660). Variables: DA_1i; DA_1ii; DA1iii; DA_1iv

Victim status

Experience of partner abuse was associated with other types of victimisation. Over a quarter (26.2%) of those who were classified as victims[135] in the main SCJS survey[136] had experienced partner abuse since the age of 16, compared to 14.1% of non-victims. Of those who had experienced at least one type of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview, 7.2% were classified as victims of crime in the main SCJS survey, compared to 2.3% of those who were not classified as victims.

Deprivation

Experience of partner abuse both since the age of 16, and in the 12 months prior to interview varied significantly in terms of neighbourhood deprivation. Around one-in-five (19.8%) of those living in the 15% most deprived areas of Scotland reported abuse since age 16, compared to 14.9% of those living in the rest of Scotland. Similarly, 4.5% of those living in the 15% most deprived areas reported abuse in the 12 months prior to interview, compared to 2.7% of those living in the rest of Scotland.

What can the 2016/18 SCJS results tell us about the types partner abuse most commonly experienced?

To capture experiences of partner abuse as fully as possible, this section focuses on partner abuse experienced since the age of 16.

The most commonly reported type of psychological abuse experienced was a partner acting in a jealous or controlling way.

Respondents were asked if they had experienced twelve different types of psychological abuse since the age of 16, as outlined earlier.

Overall, the most commonly reported form of psychological abuse was a partner behaving in a jealous or controlling way (9.5%), followed by being put down repeatedly and made to feel worthless (8.1%). A further 5.3% stated that a partner had stopped them from seeing friends and relatives, and 4.7% also said that a partner had threatened to hurt them.

However, these findings differed by gender of the respondent, with the proportion of women reporting abuse higher than the proportion of men for each of the twelve types. Figure 9.12 shows the percentage of respondents experiencing different types of psychological abuse since the age of 16, broken down by gender.

Figure 9.12: Type of psychological partner abuse experienced since age 16, by gender

Figure 9.12: Type of psychological partner abuse experienced since age 16, by gender

Base: All male respondents who have had a partner since age of 16 (3,700); all female respondents who have had a partner since age 16 (4,410). Variable: DA_1i

The most commonly reported type of physical abuse experienced was being kicked, bitten or hit by a partner.

Respondents were asked if they had experienced seven different types of physical abuse since the age of 16.

Overall, the most commonly reported forms of physical abuse experienced by respondents were being kicked, bitten or hit by a partner (6.1%), followed by being pushed or held down (5.5%), and having something thrown at them with the intention of causing harm (5.4%).

However, these findings differed by gender, with the proportion of women reporting abuse higher than the proportion of men for each of the seven types. Figure 9.13 below shows the percentage of respondents experiencing different types of physical abuse since the age of 16, broken down by gender.

Figure 9.13: Type of physical partner abuse experienced since age 16, by gender

Figure 9.13: Type of physical partner abuse experienced since age 16, by gender

Base: All male respondents who have had a partner since age of 16 (3,700); all female respondents who have had a partner since age 16 (4,410). Variable: DA_1iii

What can the SCJS tell us about the impact of partner abuse?

Respondents who reported experiencing at least one incident of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview were asked if they had experienced a range of effects, both psychological and physical, as a result of the most recent (or only) incident of abuse.

66% of those experiencing partner abuse had at least one psychological effect as a result of the most recent (or only) incident of abuse in the 12 months prior to interview.

Two-thirds (66%) of adults with experience of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview reported psychological impacts of some sort, with women more likely than men to report such effects. Of those who reported partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview, 80% of women reported at least one psychological effect, compared to 44% of men.

The most common psychological impact was low self-esteem, which was reported by 46% of respondents. The psychological impacts experienced, split by gender, are shown in Figure 9.14 below (with significant differences highlighted). A higher proportion of women experienced seven of the twelve effects; for example low self-esteem (64% of women, compared to 20% of men).

Figure 9.14: Psychological impacts of partner abuse as a result of the most recent (or only) incident of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview, by gender

Figure 9.14: Psychological impacts of partner abuse as a result of the most recent (or only) incident of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview, by gender

Base: All male respondents who experienced at least one type of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview (60); all female respondents who experienced at least one type of partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview (120). Variable: DA_9

32% of those experiencing partner abuse (either physical or psychological) in the 12 months prior to interview had at least one physical effect of the abuse as a result of the most recent (or only) incident.

Physical impacts were reported by just under one-third (32%) of adults experiencing partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview. There was no statistically significant difference between the proportion of men (39%) and women (27%) who reported at least one physical effect of the most recent (or only) incident of partner abuse.

The most common physical effects reported were scratches or minor cuts (17%), followed by minor bruising or a black eye (15%).

9% of those who had experienced at least one incident of partner abuse since age 16 considered themselves to have ever been a victim of domestic abuse.

Only around one in every ten (9%) adults with experience of partner abuse since the age of 16 assessed that they had been a victim of domestic abuse.

Over two-fifths of respondents (42%) viewed their experiences of physical abuse (in the 12 months prior to interview) as a crime, compared to 24% who viewed their experiences of psychological abuse as a crime.

What can the SCJS tell us about the circumstances in which partner abuse occurs and how often it is reported?

Respondents who experienced partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview were asked about the circumstances of the most recent (or only) incident of partner abuse and who, if anyone, they had told about their experience. The section below presents a high-level summary of some of the information provided by respondents. It is important to note that the latest incident might not be the most serious and also may not be representative of all incidents of partner abuse a respondent experienced.

  • 38% were living with the partner at the time of the incident.
    Of those, two-fifths (41%) said they were still living with the abusive partner at the time of the survey interview.
  • 40% said that children were living in their household when the incident took place.
    Of those who reported children were living in the household, 62% said that the children were present (in or around the house or close by) during the most recent incident.
  • Over two-thirds (68%) had told at least one person or organisation about the most recent incident, unchanged from 2014/15.
    There was no significant difference between the proportion of women who had told at least one person or organisation about their experiences of abuse (72%), compared to men (62%).
    There are a range of different people and services that those who have experienced partner abuse reported engaging with. Respondents were most likely to have told friends (35%) and relatives (28%) about the most recent incident of abuse. Over a quarter of respondents (28%) said they had told no one; whilst 14% told a doctor, and 9% reported the incident to the police. The percentage reporting the most recent incident to the police is not statistically different that in 2014/15 (12%).
  • The police came to know about just under one-in-five of the most recent incidents of partner abuse.
    19% said that the police came to know about the most recent (or only) incident of partner abuse somehow. This is unchanged from 2014/15 (19%). This differs from the 9% figure above, as it includes incidents the police came to know about through any means, including via neighbours and relatives, not just reported by the respondent themselves.

9.4 Sexual Victimisation

SCJS respondents are asked about their experiences of serious sexual assault and less serious sexual assault, since the age of 16 and in the 12 months prior to interview.

The survey asks respondents if they have experienced one or more of the following types of serious and less serious sexual assault[137]:

Serious sexual assault

  • Forced sexual intercourse
  • Attempted forced sexual intercourse
  • Forced other sexual activity (for example, oral sex)
  • Attempted forced other sexual activity

Less serious sexual assault

  • Unwanted sexual touching
  • Indecent exposure
  • Sexual threats

There may be some overlap between the incidents of sexual victimisation (both serious and less serious) detailed in this chapter, and the incidents of stalking and harassment and partner abuse detailed elsewhere in this report, respectively, which are asked about in separate parts of the self-completion questionnaire. Given that sexual victimisation and partner abuse can involve similar behaviours and experiences, it is possible that some incidents detailed in this report are duplicated in the partner abuse chapter. It is also possible that some sexual victimisation detailed in this report constituted partner abuse and/or stalking and harassment, but were not viewed or reported as such by respondents.

The latest results presented below are from two sweeps of the SCJS combined (2016/17 and 2017/18). This is referred to throughout the chapter as 2016/18. For more information, see the Technical Report.

Serious Sexual Assault

This chapter focuses mainly on respondents who reported at least one form of serious sexual assault since the age of 16[138].

What can the 2016/18 SCJS results tell us about serious sexual assault in Scotland?

3.6% of adults in Scotland have experienced at least one type of serious sexual assault since the age of 16.

A higher proportion of women than men reported experiencing at least one type of serious sexual assault (6.2% compared to 0.8%, respectively). Since the age of 16, 1.3% of respondents had experienced more than one type of serious sexual assault.

Table 9.9 below shows how the percentage of respondents reporting experience of serious sexual assault since the age of 16 in the SCJS has varied over time. The latest results show there has been no change since 2008/09 in the proportion of respondents reporting experience of serious sexual assault. Although, since 2014/15 the proportion reporting experience of at least one type since the age of 16 has increased. However, as this is a lifetime measurement it would not be expected to change much, if at all, between years. As well as a potentially true increase in prevalence, this increase may also be influenced by changes in perceptions of historical incidents. This will continue to be monitored in future.

Breaking the results down by type of serious sexual assault experienced, the latest results show the proportion of adults reporting attempted other forced sexual acts has increased since 2014/15 (from 0.8% to 1.4%). There was no significant change in the proportion reporting the other three types of serious sexual assault.

Table 9.9: Percentage of respondents experiencing types of serious sexual assault since age 16, 2008/09 to 2016/18

Type of serious sexual assault 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2012/13 2014/15 2016/18 Percentage point change
change since 2008/09 change since 2014/15
Forced sexual intercourse 1.7% 1.5% 1.4% 1.6% 1.6% 1.9% No change No change
Attempted forced sexual intercourse 1.5% 1.2% 1.3% 1.1% 1.2% 1.6% No change No change
Other forced sexual activities 0.6% 0.5% 0.6% 1.1% 0.7% 0.8% No change No change
Attempted other forced sexual activities 0.7% 0.7% 0.7% 0.6% 0.8% 1.4% ↑ by 0.7 ↑ by 0.6
At least one form of serious sexual assault 3.2% 2.7% 2.8% 2.5% 2.7% 3.6% No change ↑ by 0.9
Number of respondents 10,970 13,420 11,000 10,240 9,990 8,820    

Base: All respondents. Variables: SA_0

The first (or only) incident occurred between the age of 16 and 20 for more than half of those with experience of serious sexual assault.

Respondents who reported experiencing at least one incident of serious sexual assault were asked at what age the first (or only) incident took place. Figure 9.15 below shows that the majority (57%) of respondents reported the first (or only) incident took place between the ages of 16 and 20.

Figure 9.15: Age when first incident of serious sexual assault happened

Figure 9.15: Age when first incident of serious sexual assault happened

Base: All respondents who experienced at least one type of serious sexual assault since the age of 16 (310). Variable: SA_1

Victims of serious sexual assault were likely to have experienced more than one incident.

Respondents who reported experiencing each type of serious sexual assault were then asked how many incidents of that type of serious sexual assault they had experienced since the age of 16. Table 9.10 shows the incidence of serious sexual assault since the age of 16 for the four types of serious sexual assault.

It shows, for example, that of those respondents who had experienced forced sexual intercourse since the age of 16, 62% said they had experienced more than one incident, around half of whom (31%) said they had experienced too many incidents to count.

Table 9.10: Number of incidents of serious sexual assault experienced since age 16, by type of serious sexual assault

Number of incidents Forced sexual intercourse Attempted forced sexual intercourse Other forced sexual activities Attempted other forced sexual activities
One 29% 24% 9% 27%
More than one 62% 61% 81% 47%
Two 12% 10% 6% 8%
Three 6% 7% 6% 6%
Four 3% 3% 7% 5%
Five 7% 6% 4% 2%
Six and over 3% 1% 2% 1%
Too many to count 31% 33% 56% 25%
Number of respondents 180 150 80 110

Base: All respondents who had experienced each form of serious sexual assault since age 16. Variables: SA_0

Note: ‘don’t know/can’t remember’ and ‘don’t wish to answer’ responses are not shown.

What can the SCJS tell us about the nature, impact and reporting of more serious sexual assault?

Due to the small number of respondents reporting some types of serious sexual assault, this section looks mainly at forced sexual intercourse.

Most victims knew the offender in some way.

Respondents who had experienced each type of serious sexual assault were asked what their relationship to the perpetrator(s) had been at the time of the incident for all experiences since the age of 16. If there had been more than one perpetrator, the respondent was asked to record all of them.

Of those respondents who had experienced forced sexual intercourse since the age of 16, over half (56%) said that the perpetrator had been their partner. Figure 9.16 below shows the results.

Figure 9.16: Relationship of offender to victim of forced sexual intercourse, since the age of 16

Figure 9.16: Relationship of offender to victim of forced sexual intercourse, since the age of 16

Base: All respondents who experienced forced sexual intercourse since the age of 16 (110). Variables: FS_3B4; FS_3

Over three-quarters of those who had experienced forced sexual intercourse said that the latest (or only) incident had resulted in some form of physical impact.

Respondents who had experienced at least one incident of serious sexual assault, since the age of 16, were asked about the physical impact of the latest (or only) incident.

For each of the four types of serious sexual assault the most common impact reported was ‘minor impact which did not require medical treatment (such as minor cuts or bruising)’.

Of those who had experienced forced sexual intercourse, 77% said that the last (or only) incident had resulted in some form of physical impact; either minor (41%), serious but not treated by a medical professional (20%) or serious and treated by a medical professional (17%). 8% said that the last (or only) incident had resulted in pregnancy.

In most cases, the most recent (or only) incident of serious sexual assault was not reported to the police.

Respondents who had experienced serious sexual assault since the age of 16 were asked if the police were informed about the most recent (or only) incident.

Figure 9.17 shows reporting rates for the four types of serious sexual assault[139]. Compared to 2014/15, there was no significant change for any type of serious sexual assault.

Figure 9.17: Percentage of respondents reporting the most recent (or only) incident of serious sexual assault (since age 16) to the police, by type of serious sexual assault

Figure 9.17: Percentage of respondents reporting the most recent (or only) incident of serious sexual assault (since age 16) to the police, by type of serious sexual assault

Base: All experiencing forced sexual intercourse since the age of 16 (160); all experiencing attempted forced sexual intercourse since the age of 16 (140); all experiencing other forced sexual activities since the age of 16 (70); all experiencing attempted other forced sexual activities since the age of 16 (100). Variables: FS_7; AFS_7; OS_7; AOS_7

Respondents who said the police did not come to know about the most recent (or only) incident of serious sexual assault, since the age of 16, were asked the reasons for this. Figure 9.18 below shows the reasons for forced and attempted forced sexual intercourse (the two largest categories of serious sexual assault).

The most common reason for not informing the police of forced sexual intercourse was fear of making matters worse (38%), whereas the most common reason for not reporting attempted forced sexual intercourse was that the matter was dealt with themselves (37%).

Figure 9.18: Reason for not reporting the most recent (or only) incident of forced sexual intercourse or attempted forced sexual intercourse to the police

Figure 9.18: Reason for not reporting the most recent (or only) incident of forced sexual intercourse or attempted forced sexual intercourse to the police

Base: All experiencing forced sexual intercourse since the age of 16 where police did not come to know about the most recent incident (120); All experiencing attempted forced sexual intercourse since the age of 16 where police did not come to know about the most recent incident (120). Variables: FS_7i; AFS_7i

Are some population groups more likely to have experienced serious sexual assault?

Experience of serious sexual assault varied by gender, age, and victim status (based on information derived from the main SCJS questionnaire). Table 9.11 below shows the varying proportion of respondents reporting experience of at least one form of serious sexual assault since the age 16, by their characteristics.

Table 9.11: Experience of serious sexual assault by demographic and area characteristics

Characteristics % of adults Base
Gender Male 0.8% 4,050
Female 6.2% 4,770
Age-group 16-24 5.7% 690
25-44 4.1% 2,480
45-59 4.1% 2,390
60 or over 1.7% 3,260
Victim status in main questionnaire Victim 7.3% 1,020
Non-victim 3.1% 7,790
Socio-economic deprivation 15% most deprived 4.4% 1,220
Rest of Scotland 3.5% 7,600
All adults 3.6% 8,820

Base: All respondents. Variables: SA_0

Gender

A greater proportion of women have experienced serious sexual assault since the age of 16 than men (6.2% and 0.8% respectively).

Age

Respondents aged 60 or over were less likely to report having experienced serious sexual assault than all other age groups. Note the apparent difference between the other age groups are not statistically significant.

Victim Status

Experiences of at least one serious sexual assault varied with other types of victimisation. Of those who classified as victims[140] in the main SCJS survey, 7.3% had experienced at least one serious sexual assault since the age of 16. This compares to 3.1% of those who were not classified as victims.

Deprivation

There was no statistically significant difference in the proportion who experienced serious sexual assault since the age of 16 in terms of neighbourhood deprivation.

Less Serious Sexual Assault

This section focuses mainly on respondents who reported at least one form of less serious sexual assault since the age of 16, however it also includes some analysis of experiences in the 12 months prior to interview.

What can the 2016/18 SCJS results tell us about less serious sexual assault in Scotland?

9.3% of adults have experienced at least one type of less serious sexual assault since the age of 16.

Respondents were asked if they had experienced three types of less serious sexual assault since the age of 16; these were unwanted sexual touching; indecent exposure; and sexual threats.

Just under a tenth (9.3%) of all adults reported that they had experienced at least one type of less serious sexual assault since the age of 16. A higher proportion of women reported experience of less serious sexual assault since the age of 16 than men (15.5% and 2.5%, respectively). 3.2% of respondents had experienced more than one type.

Since both 2008/09 and 2014/15, the SCJS has detected no change in the proportion of adults reporting experience of less serious assault since the age of 16.

Breaking the results down by type of sexual assault experienced, the latest results show an increase in the proportion of respondents reporting unwanted sexual touching between 2008/09 and 2016/18 (from 4.8% to 6.4%), with no change in the prevalence of sexual threats and a decrease in experiences of indecent exposure. Table 9.12 below shows the results.

Table 9.12: Percentage of respondents experiencing types of less serious sexual assault since age 16, 2008/09 to 2016/18

Type of sexual assault 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2012/13 2014/15 2016/18 Percentage point change
Change since 2008/09 Change since 2014/15
Unwanted sexual touching 4.8% 4.1% 4.6% 4.3% 4.8% 6.4% ↑ by 1.6 ↑ by 1.6
Indecent exposure 5.0% 5.1% 4.2% 4.0% 4.3% 4.1% ↓ by 0.9 No change
Sexual threats 2.1% 1.9% 1.9% 1.8% 2.1% 2.6% No change No change
At least one form of less serious sexual assault 9.4% 8.8% 8.3% 7.6% 8.3% 9.3% No change No change
Number of respondents 10,970 13,420 11,000 10,240 9,990 8,820    

Base: All respondents. Variables: SV_0

In the 12 months prior to interview, 1.6% of respondents had experienced at least one form of less serious sexual assault.

Women were more likely than men to have experienced less serious sexual assault in the 12 months prior to interview (2.5% compared to 0.6%, respectively).

As there were only a small number of respondents who reported experiencing less serious sexual assault in the 12 months prior to interview, the rest of the analysis in this chapter focuses on experiences since the age 16.

What can the 2016/18 SCJS results tell us about the types less serious sexual assault most commonly experienced?

The most commonly reported type of less serious sexual assault was unwanted sexual touching.

Overall, the most commonly experienced form of less serious sexual assault was unwanted sexual touching (6.4%), followed by indecent exposure (4.1%), and being subject to sexual threats (2.6%).

Women are more likely than men to have experienced each type since the age of 16, as shown in Figure 9.19 below.

Figure 9.19: Percentage of respondents experiencing types of less serious sexual assault since age 16, by gender

Figure 9.19: Percentage of respondents experiencing types of less serious sexual assault since age 16, by gender

Base: All male respondents (4,050); all female respondents (4,770). Variables: SV_0

The relationship between victims and offenders differs by type of sexual assault.

Of those who had experienced indecent exposure since the age of 16, 76% said that the offender was a stranger. Strangers were also most likely to perpetuate unwanted sexual touching (41%), followed by ‘someone else’ the victim knew (28%). Indecent exposure and unwanted sexual touching were less likely to involve partners, at 5% and 20% respectively.

In contrast, sexual threats were more likely to involve partners. Of those who had experienced sexual threats since the age of 16, 52% said the offender was their partner. Note that this finding is consistent with the proportion of forced sexual intercourse (since the age of 16) carried out by partners (56%) as shown in Figure 9.16 earlier.

Figure 9.20: Relationship of offender to victim since the age of 16, by type of less serious sexual assault

Figure 9.20: Relationship of offender to victim since the age of 16, by type of less serious sexual assault

Base: All respondents who experienced unwanted sexual touching since the age of 16 (540); all respondents who experienced sexual threats since the age of 16 (230); all respondents who experienced indecent exposure since the age of 16 (360). Variables: TS_3; TS_5; ST_3; ST_5; INEX_3; INEX_5

Are some population groups more likely to have experienced less serious sexual assault?

The proportion of respondents who reported experience of at least one form of less serious sexual assault since the age 16 varied by respondent characteristics. The differences in experience of less serious sexual assault by gender are outlined at the start of this section of the report alongside the national prevalence rate.

Age

When looking at the relationship between age and experience of sexual assault in the 12 months prior to interview, Table 9.13 shows the proportion of respondents who reported experience of less serious sexual assault was highest amongst the 16 to 24 years age group (6.2%).

Table 9.13: Percentage of respondents experiencing less serious sexual assaults in the 12 months prior to interview, by age

  Since age 16 In the 12 months prior to interview Base
16 to 24 years 12.9% 6.2% 690
25 to 44 years 11.5% 1.5% 2,480
45 to 59 years 8.8% 0.7% 2,390
60 years or over 5.8% 0.4% 3,260

Base: All respondents who have experienced at least one type of less serious sexual assault since age 16; all respondents who have experienced at least one type of less serious sexual assualt in the 12 months prior to interview by age group. Variables: SV_0

Victim Status

Experience of at least one less serious sexual assault varied with other types of victimisation. Of those who classified as victims[141] in the main SCJS survey, 14.4% had experienced at least one less serious sexual assault since the age of 16. This compares to 8.5% of those who were not classified as victims.

Deprivation

There was no statistically significant difference in the proportion of respondents who had experienced less serious sexual assault since the age of 16 in terms of neighbourhood deprivation. Around one-in-ten respondents reported experiencing at least one less serious sexual assault since the age of 16, regardless of whether they lived in the 15% most deprived areas of Scotland (10.4%) or in the rest of Scotland (9.1%).


Contact

Email: scjs@gov.scot