Scottish Government statisticians reviewed a random sample of almost 2,000 crime records for the ‘Other sexual crimes’ category, with facilitative support and advice from Police Scotland.
These records were sampled from two different years; 800 from 2013-14 and 1,188 from 2016-17. This represented 28% and 27% of all ‘Other sexual crimes’ recorded by the police in 2013-14 and 2016-17, respectively. The inclusion of records from an earlier year was to allow the research to identify whether any significant changes had occurred in the characteristics of these crimes as they were growing. The year of 2013-14 was chosen as it was the first full year for which crime records for the whole of Scotland were relatively easy to access, following the establishment of Police Scotland.
For both years the sample was stratified by crime type. This was to ensure the prevalence of the different types of sexual crimes recorded within the ‘Other sexual crimes’ category was reflected within the research.
Statisticians recorded information about the circumstances of these crimes and the characteristics of the people involved. No personal or sensitive details (names, dates of birth, etc.) were collected.
This research is based on a sample of police records (rather than all records), therefore the percentages (proportions) presented in this report are estimates. The true value may differ slightly from the findings presented below due to sampling error. As such, users should treat the following analysis as a broad indication of the characteristics of the ‘Other sexual crimes’ category, rather than as an exact measure. All figures are presented at the national level, as sample sizes are too small to provide robust estimates at geographies below this.
It should also be noted that some of the police records reviewed may have contained recording errors (i.e. an incorrect crime code was used to classify the record, given the circumstances of the case). An audit of crime recording practice in 2016  by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland ( HMICS) found there can be particular challenges when recording sexual crimes, given the complexity of these incidents. Despite this, HMICS found that the vast majority of crimes resulting from sexual incidents (91.4% of the 914 sampled) were counted and classified correctly.
During the fieldwork for this research, Statisticians have worked with Police Scotland’s Crime Registrars to identify any ‘Other sexual crimes’ records that may contain a classification error (i.e. the wrong crime code was used to classify the incident). The results of this exercise will be published by the Scottish Crime Recording Board. Whilst some errors have been identified, at this stage statisticians can confirm these will not make any material difference to the findings presented in this report.
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The Scottish Government
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