An additional two cases of domestic abuse were recorded every day by police in Scotland last year, new figures have revealed.
It means there are now 163 incidents each day, a one per cent increase on 2016/17.
The rise coincided with the announcement of an SNP government policy to abolish jail terms of less than 12 months, a move which would see many domestic abusers walk free from court.
The Scottish Conservatives warned that, despite commitments by the police to make tackling domestic violence a priority, those efforts were being undermined by a soft-touch justice system.
Today’s statistics show that police recorded 59,541 domestic abuse cases in 2017/18.
Around four in every five cases involved a female victim and male perpetrator.
The vast majority occurred in a home setting, with more than half involving couples who were current partners.
In her Programme for Government in 2017, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she wanted to abolish prison sentences of less than 12 months.
That provoked a furious response from domestic abuse charities, who warned most offences that resulted in jail time tended to involve sentences of that length.
Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said:
“After it made this announcement, the SNP was well-warned that abolishing jail sentences of less than 12 months would result in domestic abusers being let off the hook.
“We can now see, over that time period, instances of domestic violence increased.
“Police Scotland have repeatedly made clear they want to get tough on domestic abuse, and that is absolutely welcome.
“But it will also be significantly undermined if we have a soft-touch SNP government at the top which wants to let such people walk free from court.
“These are not small numbers, and show the sheer scale of this problem right across Scotland.
“Only when all agencies agree to take meaningful action on this will these statistics begin to improve.”