Domestic abuse charges have increased by the largest amount in a single year, according to new Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) statistics.
Last year saw a “shocking” record rise of 2,707 domestic abuse charges in Scotland, which have now reached the highest level in five years.
The total number of charges in 2020-21 was 33,425, including more than 500 domestic-abuse related serious assaults and attempted murders.
However, many charges involving domestic abuse still result in no further action, particularly in rape cases.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Jamie Greene MSP, said: “Domestic abuse is a stain on our society and these new statistics are totally unacceptable.
“This record rise is shocking. Across Scotland, thousands more victims have been subjected to controlling, degrading, and violent behaviour.
“Home is supposed to be a place of safety, but for thousands of people across Scotland, that could not be further from the truth.
“Too many domestic abuse victims are being let down by the SNP’s soft-touch justice system, which lets many criminals away Scot-free. They have a duty to act now to prevent another appalling increase next year.
“The SNP Government is failing to cut down on crime. Their effective ban on short prison sentences means many criminals will end up avoiding jail altogether, and that’s why the Scottish Conservatives are determined to overhaul this flawed system.”
2020-21 recorded the largest year-on-year rise in domestic abuse charges on record. Since comparable statistics have been recorded in 2013-14, 2020-21 saw the largest rise in domestic abuse charges ever recorded. 33,425 charges were recorded in 2020-21, a rise of 2,707 charges in just a single year. 30,718 charges were recorded in 2019-20. (COPFS, Domestic Abuse and Stalking Charges, 7 September 2021, Table 1, link).
The number of domestic abuse charges has risen to its highest level since 2015-16. In 2020-21, 33,425 domestic abuse charges were recorded by the Crown Office. This is higher than any year since 2015-16, where 34,420 charges were recorded. (COPFS, Domestic Abuse and Stalking Charges, 7 September 2021, Table 1, link).
Nearly 1 in 20 rape or attempted rape charges with a domestic abuse element faced no further action. In 2020-21, 620 charges of rape or attempted rape were recorded that had a ‘domestic abuse identifier’. Yet 30 of these charges faced no further action and no decision has been reached in a further 41 cases. (COPFS, Domestic Abuse and Stalking Charges, 7 September 2021, Table 3, link).
More than 500 serious assaults and attempted murders charges with a domestic abuse element took place last year. In 2020-21, 573 serious assault and attempted murder charges with a ‘domestic abuse identifier’ were recorded. Despite the severity of these crimes, 9 of these charges faced no action. (COPFS, Domestic Abuse and Stalking Charges, 7 September 2021, Table 3, link).
The number of charges with a domestic abuse statutory aggravator was the highest on record. In 2020-21, 27,658 charges with a statutory domestic abuse aggravator were recorded which is higher than any other year where the number of statutory aggravator domestic abuse cases has been recorded. (COPFS, Domestic Abuse and Stalking Charges, 7 September 2021, Table 2, link).