More than a third of sexual assault victims under 18, report finds

New figures show that reports of rape, attempted rape and domestic abuse are at their highest levels on record.

Rape, attempted rape and domestic abuse reports to Police Scotland at record highs, new figures show Getty Images

The number of rapes, attempted rapes and domestic abuse cases reported to police are at their highest levels on record – with more than a third (37%) of sexual assault victims under the age of 18.

New figures reveal Police Scotland recorded 2,529 rapes and attempted rapes in the 2022-23 period, accounting for 17% of all sexual crimes.

Domestic abuse is also at the highest level since new legislation came into force in 2019.

There were 1,781 crimes recorded under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act in 2022-23, a 1% increase compared to 2021-22.

Sexual crimes accounted for 5% of all crimes recorded in Scotland, and overall there was a 3% decrease in 2022-23.

Crimes of sexual assault fell from 5,359 in 2021-22 to 5,282 in 2022-23.

The annual Recorded Crime in Scotland report published on Tuesday shows a 1% increase in crime reported to police in Scotland overall, from 286,464 offences in 2021/22 to 289,352 in 2022-23.

Fraud reports also have also seen a year-on-year increase since 2014-15 with the highest levels in 2022-23 standing at 16,526 cases.

Reports of this type of crime have risen 109% since 2013-14.

Elsewhere, crimes of dishonesty, such as housebreaking and shoplifting, have risen 11% in a year, from 92,873 to 103,393 in 2022-23. The recording of these crimes is at the third lowest level seen since 1971.

Most other categories of crime, including non-sexual crimes of violence, damage and reckless behaviour and crimes against society, saw a decrease between 2021-22 and 2022-23, while crimes under coronavirus-related legislation fell from 3,913 to zero.

Justice secretary Angela Constance said: “These figures show Scotland continues to be a safe place to live, with recorded crime remaining at one of the lowest levels seen since 1974.

“These latest figures show reductions in crimes such as violence and damage and reckless behaviour.

“While most people do not experience crime, we recognise the impact caused to those who do. These figures show while significant progress is being made, there is more we need to do to reduce the harm caused by crime.

“That is why we are taking robust action to tackle sexual offending in particular, while investing £93m over the past five years to ensure that victims’ rights and needs are at the centre of the criminal justice system.

“We also recently launched a violence prevention strategy and are supporting Police Scotland with £1.45bn investment in 2023-24.

“These continued low levels of crime are testimony to the efforts across policing, justice and community safety partners to deliver a safer Scotland for everyone.”

However, Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Jamie Greene said the Scottish Government should be “ashamed” of the figures.

Greene added: “It’s unbelievably crass for (justice secretary) Angela Constance to boast about Scotland’s safety when rapes and attempted rapes as well as crimes under the Domestic Abuse Act are all at their highest level on record.

“The reality is that under the SNP’s soft-touch approach to justice, overall crime has risen again. Cases of fraud are at their highest level since the SNP entered government.

“With police numbers still dangerously low and sentencing policies that put criminals’ interests ahead of their victims’, the SNP should be ashamed of their record on crime, rather than complacently congratulating themselves on these dismal figures.”

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