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Publication - Statistics Publication

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15: Sexual Victimisation & Stalking

Published: 17 May 2016
ISBN:
9781786522641

Findings from the SCJS 2014/15 on Sexual Victimisation and Stalking.

58 page PDF

1.1MB

58 page PDF

1.1MB

Contents
Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15: Sexual Victimisation & Stalking
3. Serious Sexual Assault

58 page PDF

1.1MB

3. Serious Sexual Assault

3.1 Summary of findings

  • Overall, 2.7% of respondents had experienced at least one form of serious sexual assault since the age of 16 (this proportion has not changed over the last six sweeps of the SCJS), and 0.9% had experienced more than one form of serious sexual assault.
  • A higher proportion of women than men had experienced at least one form of serious sexual assault since the age of 16, at 4.6% and 0.6% respectively.
  • More than half of respondents (52.8%) said that they had experienced their first (or only) incident of serious sexual assault between the ages of 16 and 20.
  • Serious sexual assault was most commonly carried out by someone known to the victim. Almost nine-in-ten (87.4%) of those who had experienced at least one form of serious sexual assault since the age of 16 knew the offender in some way, whilst over half (54.8%) said that the offender was their partner.
  • Men perpetuated the majority of serious sexual assaults: 94.0% of those who had experienced serious sexual assault since the age of 16 said the offender was male. This proportion was higher for female victims than male victims, at 98.0% and 63.6% respectively.
  • Of those who had experienced forced sexual intercourse since the age of 16, 16.8% said the police were informed about the most recent incident.
  • The most common reason for not reporting the most recent of serious sexual assault to the police was fear that it would make matters worse (43.4%).

3.2 Introduction

The SCJS survey asks respondents if they have experienced one or more of the following types of serious sexual assault:

  • Forced to have sexual intercourse
  • Attempted forced sexual intercourse
  • Forced to take part in another sexual activity (for example, oral sex)
  • Attempted forced to take part in another sexual activity

Respondents are asked about their experiences over two time-periods: within the last 12 months and since the age of 16.

This chapter mostly focuses on respondents who reported at least one form of serious sexual assault since the age of 16 ( n = 332), as the lower base number of respondents who experienced serious sexual assault in the last 12 months ( n = 23) prevents more detailed analysis.

This chapter examines the overall and varying risk of serious sexual assault; the incidence of serious sexual assault; victim-offender relationships; the gender of the offender; the physical impact on victims; and reporting to the police.

3.3 Overall risk of serious sexual assault

In the 2014/15 survey, 2.7% of respondents had experienced at least one form of serious sexual assault since the age of 16, and 0.9% had experienced more than one form.

3.3.1 Trends in serious sexual assault

The risk of serious sexual assault since the age of 16 did not change between 2008/9 and 2014/15, or between the last two sweeps of the survey. The small differences shown in Table 3.1 are not statistically significant.

Table 3.1 Overall risk of serious sexual assault since the age of 16 (%)

Type of serious sexual assault 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2012/13 2014/15
Forced sex 1.7% 1.5% 1.4% 1.6% 1.6%
Attempted forced sex 1.5% 1.2% 1.3% 1.1% 1.2%
Other forced sexual acts 0.6% 0.5% 0.6% 1.1% 0.7%
Attempted other forced sexual acts 0.7% 0.7% 0.7% 0.6% 0.8%
At least one form of sexual assault 3.2% 2.7% 2.8% 2.5% 2.7%
Base 10,974 13,418 10,999 10,235 9,986

Base: All respondents (adults aged 16 years and over)
Variable names: SAFS, SAAFS, SAOS, SAAOS, SA_ANY_EV, AllMSSA

Sexual victimisation, as reported in the SCJS, is not directly comparable with police recorded crime. This is because limited follow-up questions are asked about these incidents (in order to avoid possible distress to the respondent), which prevents the accurate legal classification of incidents.

Despite these limitations, patterns of police recorded serious sexual assault are generally less consistent than patterns of serious sexual assault as reported in the SCJS.

This difference between the two sources of data is most likely due to changes in reporting behaviour, and a greater willingness to report sexual assault. For example, Figure 3.1 shows that police recorded incidents of rape and attempted rape increased by 97% between 2008/09 and 2014/15, from 963 to 1,901 incidents.

Figure 3.1. Police recorded rape, attempted rape and sexual assault, 2008/9 to 2014/15

Figure 3.1. Police recorded rape, attempted rape and sexual assault, 2008/9 to 2014/15

Source: Scottish Government (2015) Recorded Crime in Scotland

3.4 Varying risk of serious sexual assault

The risk of serious sexual assault since the age of 16 varied by gender, age and victimisation (as reported in the main questionnaire), and socio-economic deprivation.

Table 3.2 presents the results.

Table 3.2 Varying risk of serious sexual assault since age of serious sexual assault since age of 16, by social characteristics (%)

Social characteristics   % adults Base
Gender Male 0.6% 4,528
Female 4.6% 5,458
Age-group 16-24 1.9% 836
25-34 3.2% 1,421
35-44 3.6% 1,596
45-54 4.2% 1,794
55-64 2.2% 1,697
65 and over 1.3% 2,642
Victim status in the main questionnaire 1 Victim 5.3% 1,398
Non-victim 2.2% 8,588
Socio-economic Deprivation* 15% most deprived 3.8% 1,412
Rest of Scotland 2.5% 8,574
All adults   2.7% 9,986

Base: All respondents
Variable names: SA_ANY_EV (by) QDGEN, QDAGE, VICFLAG3
1 A victim is defined as a respondent who reported crimes or offences in the main questionnaire (excluding sexual offences and threats) that are within the scope of the survey, took place in Scotland, and occurred within the reference period.

3.4.1 Gender and serious sexual assault

Looking at those who experienced at least one type of serious sexual assault since the age of 16, 88.6% were female, and 11.4% were male.

Serious sexual offending, as reported in the SCJS, was almost exclusively carried out by men. Of those who had experienced serious sexual assault since the age of 16 (both women and men), 94.1% said the offender(s) was male. This proportion was higher amongst female victims (98.0%), compared to male victims (63.6%).

Box 3.1 below explores public attitudes towards violence against women, as measured by the Scottish Social Attitudes survey 2014.

1 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2014 [3]

Attitudes to violence against women in Scotland report (Reid et al., 2015)

The 2014 Scottish Social Attitudes survey ( SSA) provides evidence on public attitudes towards to sexual violence, domestic abuse (physical, verbal, mental and emotional), sexual harassment and commercial sexual exploitation.

The SSA findings on sexual violence show that the majority of people thought that rape by a stranger (95%) and within a marriage (93%) were 'seriously wrong'. Fewer people felt that a husband raping his wife was 'very seriously wrong' (74%) than believed that a man raping a stranger was 'very seriously wrong' (88%). People were also less likely to say that the husband raping his wife caused the victim 'a great deal' of harm, compared to the harm caused when the rape was perpetrated by a stranger.

There were some demographic differences in attitudes towards sexual violence. Women, younger people, those who had experienced some form of gender-based violence and those who did not hold stereotypical views on gender roles were all more likely to think that the husband raping his wife was 'very seriously wrong'.

When respondents were asked about a scenario where the woman had first taken the man into her bedroom and started kissing him, fewer people felt that the man's behaviour was seriously wrong. The proportion viewing the rape by a stranger as 'very seriously wrong' fell from 88% to 58%, and in the case of the husband's behaviour, from 74% to 44%.

There was evidence to suggest people believe that in certain situations woman are partly to blame if they are raped. Only 58% said that a woman who wore revealing clothing on a night out was 'not at all to blame' for being raped, and 60% said the same of a woman who was very drunk. Around a quarter (23%) agreed that 'women often lie about being raped' and nearly 2 in 5 (37%) agreed that 'rape results from men being unable to control their need for sex'.

3.4.2 Age and serious sexual assault

Respondents were asked at what age the first (or only) incident of serious sexual assault took place. Figure 3.2 shows that the majority of first (or only) reported incidents (52.8%) took place between the ages of 16 to 20.

Figure 3.2 Age at time of first (or only) incident of serious sexual assault, by age-group (%)

Figure 3.2 Age at time of first (or only) incident of serious sexual assault, by age-group (%)

Base: All respondents who experienced serious sexual assault since age 16 (332)
Variable names: SA_ANY_EV, QDAGE

3.4.3 Deprivation and serious sexual assault

The risk of serious sexual assault since the age of 16 varied by neighbourhood deprivation: 3.8% of those living in the 15% most deprived areas of Scotland reported abuse since age of 16, compared to 2.5% of those living in the rest of Scotland.

Available income

The risk of serious sexual assault since the age of 16 was also associated with available income. Respondents were asked how easy it would be for the household to find £100 to meet an unexpected expense. Unlike neighbourhood measures of deprivation, this question addresses the issue of immediate access to funds.

The risk of serious sexual assault since the age of 16 was higher amongst those who stated that it would be 'a big problem' or 'impossible' to find £100 to meet an unexpected expense, compared to those who stated it would be 'no problem', at 7.4% and 2.0% respectively.

3.5 Incidence of serious sexual assault and repeat victimisation

Victims of serious sexual assault were likely to report more than one incident. For example, 57.8% of those respondents who had experienced forced, and 67.6% attempted forced sexual intercourse, since the age of 16 said that they had experienced more than one incident. Within these groups, 18.3% of those who had experienced forced sex and 19.8% of those who had experienced attempted forced sex said that there were too many incidents to count.

Table 3.3 shows the incidence of serious sexual assault since the age of 16 in the four types of serious sexual assault.

Table 3.3 Incidence of serious sexual assault since the age of 16 (%)

SCJS 2014/15

Number of incidents Forced sex Attempted forced intercourse Other forced sexual acts Other forced attempted sexual acts
One 37.9% 23.1% 18.1% 22.6%
More than one 57.8% 67.6% 81.9% 77.4%
Two 10.0% 10.4% 9.6% 9.5%
Three 10.3% 13.8% 5.2% 9.7%
Four 7.0% 8.8% 4.4% 1.2%
Five 2.0% 2.9% - 4.9%
Six to ten 3.0% 3.5% 25.0% 23.2%
Eleven and over 7.2% 8.4% 37.7% 29.0%
Too many to count 18.3% 19.8% - -
Base 198 155 83 96

'Don't know/can't remember' and 'don't wish to answer' responses are not shown.
Base: Adults who had experienced each form of serious sexual assault since the age of 16
Variable names: FS_2EVER AFS_2EVER OS_2EVER AOS_2EVER

3.6 Relationship with the offender/s

The majority of serious sexual assaults were carried out by someone known to the victim. Nearly nine out of ten (87.4%) of those who had experienced at least one form of serious sexual assault since age sixteen knew the offender in some way, with over half (54.8%) saying that the offender was their partner. These findings are consistent with 2013/14 Police Scotland data, which show that a third of reported rapes took place in a domestic setting ( Police Scotland, 19/6/2014).

Amongst those who had reported more than one form of serious sexual assault since the age of 16, 95.2% said that they knew the offender in some way, whilst more than three quarters (76.8%) said the offender was their partner.

Figure 3.3 shows victim-offender relationships for those who reported at least one, and more than one form of serious sexual assault experienced since the age of 16.

Figure 3.3 Victim-offender/s relationships: at least one, and more than one form of serious sexual assault experienced since the age 16 (%)

Figure 3.3 Victim-offender/s relationships: at least one, and more than one form of serious sexual assault experienced since the age 16 (%)

Results show responses for four types of serious sexual assault. Respondents may have answered in more than one category. 'Knew the offender in some way' includes responses shown in the figure.
Base: Adults who had experienced serious sexual assault since the age 16 (323)
Variable names: FS_3B4, FS_3 , AFS_3B4, AFS_3, OS_3B4, OS_3, AOS_3B4 , AOS_3

3.6.1 Serious sexual assault and strangers

Of those who had experienced at least one form of serious sexual assault since the age of 16, 8.0% had never seen the offender before. Again, these findings are consistent with 2013/14 Police Scotland data, which show that five per cent of reported rapes were committed by someone unknown to the victim ( Police Scotland, 19/6/2014).

These findings contrast with the other types of sexual victimisation discussed in the report. For example, indecent exposure and unwanted touching (since the age of 16) was more likely to be perpetuated by someone that victim had not seen before, at 70.9% and 39.90% respectively (see Section 4.4 ). Also nearly a third of those who had experienced stalking and harassment in the last 12 months, said that they had not seen the offender before (see Section 2.4 ).

3.7 The physical impact of serious sexual assault

Respondents who had reported 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. Figure 3.4 shows the physical impact of serious sexual assault, broken down by category of assault.

Of those who had experienced forced sexual intercourse, nearly two-thirds (61.8%) said that the last (or only) incident had resulted in some form of physical injury, either minor or serious, while 4.3% said that the last (or only) incident had resulted in pregnancy.

Figure 3.4 Physical impact of serious sexual assault (%)

Figure 3.4 Physical impact of serious sexual assault (%)

Base: Adults who had ever experienced attempted forced sexual intercourse (185), attempted forced sexual intercourse (146), other forced sexual activities (70) attempted other forced sexual activities (77).
Variables: FS_5ii_01, FS_5ii_02, FS_5ii_03, AFS_5ii_04, AFS_5ii_01, AFS_5ii_02, AFS_5ii_03, AFS_5ii_04, OS_5ii_01, OS_5ii_02, OS_5ii_03, AOS_5ii_01, AOS_5ii_02, AOS_5ii_03, AOS_5ii_04

3.8 Reporting 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 3.4 shows reporting rates for the four types of serious sexual assault (see section 2.8 for reporting rates for other types of SCJS crime). Note that the apparent variation in reporting rates between categories shown in Figure 3.4 is not statistically significant.

Figure 3.4 Proportion who said the police were informed about the last (or only) incident of serious sexual assault since age 16 (%)

Figure 3.4 Proportion who said the police were informed about the last (or only) incident of serious sexual assault since age 16 (%)

Base: All who experienced each type of assault, since age 16: Forced sexual intercourse (189), attempted forced sexual intercourse (150), other forced sexual activities (71), attempted other forced sexual activities (80)
Variable names: FS_7, AFS_7, OS_7, AOS_7

3.8.1 Reasons for non-reporting

Figure 3.5 below shows the reasons why the police did not come to know about the most recent (or only) incident of forced and attempted forced sexual intercourse since the age 16 respectively (these are the two largest categories of serious sexual assault).

For both types of assault (forced and attempted forced intercourse) the most common reason for not informing the police was fear, at 43.4% and 32.6% respectively. Around a quarter said that they had not reported the most recent (or only) incident because it was a private or personal matter, at 26.0% and 26.4% respectively.

Note that these findings contrast with respondents reasons for not reporting stalking and harassment to the police. For example, Figure 2.5 shows that only 3.7% of those who had not reported the most recent incident of stalking or harassment to the police said that the reason was fear that it might make things worse.

Figure 3.5. Reasons the police did not come to know about most recent (or only) incident of serious sexual assault (all types) since the age 16 (%)

Figure 3.5. Reasons the police did not come to know about most recent (or only) incident of serious sexual assault (all types) since the age 16 (%)

Base: Adults who experienced forced sexual assault (154) and attempted forced sexual intercourse (125) since the age of 16, where the police did not come to know about the most recent/only incident.
Variable names: FS_7i AFS_7i


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