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Publication - Statistics Publication

Domestic abuse in Scotland: 2016-17 statistics

Published: 24 Oct 2017

Characteristics of victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse incidents recorded by the police in Scotland.

43 page PDF

1.5MB

43 page PDF

1.5MB

Contents
Domestic abuse in Scotland: 2016-17 statistics
3. Main Findings: Incidents of Domestic Abuse in Scotland

43 page PDF

1.5MB

3. Main Findings: Incidents of Domestic Abuse in Scotland

Incidents of Domestic Abuse

3.1 In 2016-17 there were 58,810 incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police in Scotland, an increase of 1% from 2015-16 when 58,104 incidents were recorded.

Over the past six years, the number of incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police has remained relatively stable since 2011-12 at around 58,000 to 60,000 incidents a year. This follows large rises in recorded incidents between 1999-00 and 2011-12 (Chart 1 & Table 1).

In 2016-17, 47% (27,496) of domestic abuse incidents led to the recording of at least one crime or offence. The proportion in 2015-16 was 51% (29,906) ( Table 1 & Chart 1). Over the past 10 years this percentage has fluctuated between 47% (this year) and 62% (in 2009-10), with no obvious trend over the longer term.

Of the 35,086 crimes or offences recorded as part of a domestic abuse incident in 2016-17 Common assault was the most common recorded in 37% (12,897) of incidents. The second most common was Breach of the peace etc. which was recorded in 33% (11,610) of such incidents ( Table 2)

Chart 1: Incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police, 2007-08 to 2016-17 *

Chart 1: Incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police, 2007-08 to 2016-17

* Chart has been displayed with a gap in the time series to highlight the changes in data collection. See Section 6.4 for more details.

3.2 In 2016-17, 53% (31,314) of domestic abuse incidents within the Vulnerable Person Database ( VPD) did not include the recording of at least one crime or offence. This reflects that the VPD aims to collate disparate pieces of information about incidents into a single file, allowing officers to build a narrative about people who have reported or been involved in an incident with a potential domestic abuse element. The VPD itself is not a crime recording system, and as noted above the definition of domestic abuse used by Police Scotland is not restricted to behaviour where criminal conduct has been identified and recorded.

Further information into Incidents which did not include a crime or offence

3.3 Scottish Government statisticians reviewed a sample of those domestic abuse incidents from 2016-17 that did not include the recording of at least one crime or offence. Four hundred incidents were randomly selected from the VPD and a synopsis of each case was recorded. No personal or sensitive details (names, dates of birth, etc.) were collected. This research was undertaken to give users additional information on the circumstances of these incidents. The findings of this exercise are summarised below, and should be treated as a broad indication of the characteristics of those domestic abuse incidents in 2016-17 which don't include a crime or offence, rather than an exact measure (given the associated possibility of sampling error and wide range of behaviours covered).

Where gender information was recorded, 78% of those domestic abuse incidents that did not include the recording of at least one crime or offence had a female victim in 2016-17. This was a slightly lower proportion than for those incidents that did include the recording of at least one crime of offence (83% of which had a female victim).

Summary of Incidents that exclude the recording of a Crime or Offence

3.4 Around half of these incidents (52%) were based on some form of argument between partners or ex-partners that excluded any reference to a physical confrontation or threatening behaviour. Of these specific cases, around two-thirds include one of the partners/ex-partners contacting the police, whilst in around 30% of cases a third party or other witness did so. A quarter of cases that refer to some form of argument include one of the parties contacting the police as they wanted the other person to leave.

Around a fifth of these incidents (19%) were based on concern about the communication or attempted communication of one partner/ex-partner towards the other (excluding any reference to an argument or a specific crime or offence). In almost all these cases it was one of the partners/ex-partners that contacted the police. This involved a range of different incidents, including frequent references to unwanted communication or attempted communication, which could be through electronic means (text-messages, phone calls etc.) or in person. This category also includes incidents where one party is concerned about what their partner/ex-partner has said about them (sometimes to third parties).

Beyond the incidents described above, the other cases cover a diverse range of situations. Some included the police being contacted for advice or an individual raising concerns without reference to any specific incident (7% of the sample). In some instances the police were contacted by one partner/ex-partner out of concern for the well-being of the other party (3%) or by someone wishing to retrieve their belongings from a partner/ex-partner (3%).

Finally, some incidents in the VPD are best described as situations in which it is inferred that a crime or offence may have taken place (13% of the sample). In most of these cases (11% of the sample) further investigation determined either that a crime or offence had not occurred (for example by the police reviewing the content of text messages that were alleged to be threatening) or there was insufficient evidence for the police to record a crime or offence. In the other cases (2% of the sample), further discussion with Police Scotland determined that these incidents did include a crime or offence. This splits into cases where a crime or offence had been recorded in Crime Management systems but not added to the VPD or where no crime or offence could be found in Crime Management systems.

Local Authority Analysis

3.5 Across Scotland, 16 out of 32 local authorities recorded a decrease in the number of incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police between 2015-16 and 2016-17 ( Table 3).

In 2016-17, the highest percentage of incidents of domestic abuse that included at least one crime or offence also being recorded was in Dumfries & Galloway (65%) and Moray (61%).

Incidents of Domestic Abuse per 10,000 Population

3.6 Taking the population of Scotland as at mid-year 2016, there were 109 recorded incidents of domestic abuse per 10,000 population in 2016-17. At a local authority level, West Dunbartonshire (155) and Dundee City (153) recorded the highest incident rates per 10,000 population. The Shetland Islands (50) and Orkney Islands (47) recorded the lowest rates per 10,000 population (Chart 3 & Table 5).

Victim & Accused Characteristics

3.7 In 2016-17, females made up the majority (80%) of the victims in incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police, where the gender of the victim is known. This percentage increases to 83% if you only consider incidents that included the recording of at least one crime or offence.

Where gender information was recorded, 79% of all incidents of domestic abuse in 2016-17 had a female victim and a male accused (the same as in 2015-16). Looking over the longer term this percentage share has fallen from 85% in 2007-08. The proportion of incidents with a male victim and a female accused (where gender was recorded) was 18% in 2016-17 (the same as in 2015-16). Again looking over the longer term this percentage share has risen from 13% in 2007-08 (Chart 4 & Table 6).

Relationship between Victim & Accused

3.8 In 2016-17, over half (55%) of domestic abuse incidents (where the relationship between the victim and accused is known) were between current partners. Of the remaining incidents, 44% involved ex-partners ( Table 7).

Chart 2: Percentage of incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police that included at least one crime or offence being recorded, by local authority, 2016-17

Chart 2: Percentage of incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police that included at least one crime or offence being recorded, by local authority, 2016-17

Chart 3: Incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police per 10,000 population 1, by local authority, 2016-17

Chart 3: Incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police per 10,000 population, by local authority, 2016-17

1. Population estimates are at mid-year 2016 published by the National Records of Scotland ( http://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/population/population-estimates/mid-year-population-estimates )

Chart 4: Gender of victim and accused, where known, 2007-08 to 2016-17

Chart 4: Gender of victim and accused, where known, 2007-08 to 2016-17

* Chart has been displayed with a gap in the time series to highlight the changes in data collection. See Section 6.4 for more details.

* Chart only displays incidents where gender of victim and accused is known. See Section 6.17 for more details on missing data.

3.9 In 2016-17, the 26 to 30 year old age group had the highest rate per 10,000 population for both victims (274 incidents recorded per 10,000 population) and those accused (265 incidents recorded per 10,000 population) ( Table 8 & Table 9).

In 2016-17, female victims aged 22 to 25 and 26 to 30 had the joint highest rate (445) of incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police per 10,000 population. Among male victims, the highest rate of incidents of domestic abuse recorded per 10,000 population, was for those aged 31 to 35 years, where the rate was 105 incidents recorded per 10,000 population (Chart 5 & Table 8).

In 2016-17, among male accused, the 26 to 30 year old age group had the highest rate of domestic abuse (438 incidents recorded per 10,000 population). Among female accused, the 19 to 21, 22 to 25 and 31-35 year old age groups had the joint highest rate (96) of incidents per 10,000 population (Chart 5 & Table 9).

Chart 5: Gender of victim and accused, where known, 2016-17

Chart 5: Gender of victim and accused, where known, 2016-17

Victim & Accused Repeat Analysis

3.10 The Vulnerable Persons Database ( VPD) database (referred to in Paragraph 2.5 above) enables the identification of a victim or accused that has previously been entered into the system for domestic abuse. A victim or accused can appear multiple times in the database in any one year, each classified as a separate incident.

The VPD was introduced, and rolled out across the then 14 police divisions during 2013-14. Therefore, the first and any subsequent reference to any victim or accused in the repeat categories below only refers to whether they were involved in an incident of domestic abuse from 2013-14 (part year depending on divisional roll-out) and not in any years prior to the introduction of the VPD.

In 46% (27,098) of incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police in 2016-17 both the victim and accused had previously been recorded in an incident of domestic abuse. For 37% (21,786) of incidents, neither the victim or accused were found on the VPD and in 9% (5,457) incidents there was a mix of results for the victim and accused (i.e. only of the victim or accused had previously been recorded). Of the remaining 8% of incidents it was unknown whether at least one of the victim or accused had previously been recorded in an incident of domestic abuse ( Table 10 & Chart 6).

Chart 6: Incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police, by repeat victim/accused analysis, 2016-17

Chart 6: Incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police, by repeat victim/accused analysis, 2016-17

Location of Incidents

3.11 In 2016-17, 88% of incidents occurred in a home or dwelling. This can be further split into 42% of incidents of domestic abuse that occurred within the victim's own home and 21% occurred within a joint home. A further 5% occurred in the accused's home while 19% occurred in an 'other dwelling'.

The remaining 12% of incidents occurred in the street (6%), licensed premises (1%) or an 'Other' location (6%) ( Table 11 & Chart 7).

Location of Domestic Abuse

Chart 7: Incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police, by location, 2016-17

Chart 7: Incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police, by location, 2016-17

Day/Month of Occurrence

3.12 The following section is based on the date the incident of domestic abuse occurred, rather than when it was recorded by the police.

Incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police in Scotland are more likely to occur at the weekend with 36% of incidents in 2016-17 occurring on a Saturday or a Sunday. The remaining 64% is spread fairly evenly from Monday to Friday. This pattern has been consistent over the past 10 years.

Chart 8: Incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police, by day of the week incident occurred, 2016-17

Chart 8: Incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police, by day of the week incident occurred, 2016-17

When looking at the month that incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police occurred in 2016-17, no clear pattern emerges from the data, with incidents reasonably spread out across the year.

Tables for Day/Month are available online: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Crime-Justice/PubDomesticAbuse


Contact

Email: Mark Bell

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG