Statistics for Reporting on VAW

Statistics for reporting on violence against women

What is violence against women?

Violence against women (VAW) is violence or abuse where the majority of victims-survivors are women and the majority of perpetrators are men. It includes (but is not limited to):


How Common is it?

Violence in Scotland

In 2020-2021, there were 65,251 domestic abuse incidents recorded by Police Scotland. Around four out of every five of these incidents (80%) had a female victim and a male accused. Additionally, 4% of new crimes were recorded under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, which came into force on 1st April 2019. Most incidents of domestic abuse go unreported to the police.

The 2018/20 SCJS found that just under a sixth (16%) of those who experienced partner abuse in the 12 months prior to interview said that the police came to know about the most recent (or only) incident.(Source)

In 2019-20 there were:

  • 2,343 of rape and attempted rape reported to Police Scotland. (Source)
  • 4,936 cases of sexual assault reported to Police Scotland. (Source)
  • 238% increase in other sexual crimes since 2010/11 including a 4% increase from 5,763 in 2018-19 to 5,984 in 2019-20 (Source)
While figures for many crimes in Scotland are going down, for sexual offences they continue to rise. Sexual crimes have been on a long-term upward trend since 1974, and have increased each consecutive year since 2008-09. Prior to the small decrease in 2019-20, there had been increases each year since 2008-09. Sexual crimes are at the highest level seen since 1971, the first year for which comparable crime groups are available. (Source)

The actual figures are higher than these statistics suggest due to low reporting of these crimes. Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2019 - 2020 showed that only 22% of victims/survivors of rape and 12% of women who were victim-survivors of other type of sexual offence reported it to the police. (Source)

One in ten women in Scotland has experienced rape & one in five women in Scotland has had someone try to make them have sex against their will. (source)

  • 51% of girls in the UK have experienced public sexual harassment since June 2020. (Source)
  • 35% of women do not feel safe walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark. (Source)

Research indicates that only 58% of people in Scotland believe that a woman who wears revealing clothing on a night out is ‘not at all to blame’ for being raped, with 60% saying the same of a woman who is very drunk. Around a quarter think that ‘women often lie about being raped’ and nearly 2 in 5 believe that ‘rape results from men being unable to control their need for sex’. (Source)

Exacerbated by other forms of inequality

  • Disabled women are twice as likely to experience men’s violence as non-disabled women. (Source)
  • 83% of trans women have experienced hate crime at some point in their lives. (Source)
  • Black and minority ethnic (BME) and migrant women face higher levels of domestic homicide and abuse driven suicide. (Source)

Low rates of conviction rates

In 2019-20, the conviction rate for rape and attempted rape fell by 8% and it has the lowest conviction rape of any crime type. In 2019/20 there were 2,343 rapes and attempted rapes reported to the police, but only 43 per cent of cases which made it to court (compared to an 88% overall conviction rate), with 300 prosecutions and just 130 convictions.

Violence worldwide

Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner. (Source) A wide scale European study carried out by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights in 2014 found that an estimated 83 million to 102 million women (45 per cent to 55 per cent of women) in the EU-28 have experienced sexual harassment since the age of 15. (Source)

Cost of VAWG

Violence against women and girls carries significant economic costs, with both households and national economies paying in terms of lost productivity and the financial burden on health and justice services.

VAWG costs England’s NHS an estimated £2.9 billion every year. The cost per person of providing cognitive trauma therapy was estimated at £1,600.

Mental health VAWG, including emotional abuse and coercive control, has been linked to a greater risk of adverse mental health outcomes among women. The most prevalent include depression, suicide attempts, post-traumatic stress, other stress and anxiety conditions, sleeping or eating disorders and psychosomatic conditions. Many of the physical health impacts of VAWG will also have direct implications for women’s mental health.

Gender inequality

52% of Scotland's population are women.

Yet in 2020 women made up only:

  • 36% of MSPs (increase to 45% after 2021 elections)
  • 29% of local councillors,
  • 23% of council leaders,
  • 36% of public body chief executives,
  • 32% of university principals,
  • 22% of sheriffs,
  • 13% of senior police officers.
  • 6% of major newspaper editors,
  • 20% of major museums and art galleries directors,
  • 19% of national sports bodies chief executives,
  • 4% of CEOs of Scotland's ‘top’ businesses
  • 0% FTSE 100 CEOs in Scotland. (Source)

In 2020 provisional results indicate that the mean gender pay gap in Scotland is:

  • 10% when comparing of men's and women's overall average hourly earnings;
  • 8% when comparing men's and women's full-time average hourly earnings; and
  • 30% when comparing men's full-time average hourly earnings with women's part-time average hourly earnings.

In addition women working full-time earn 7.5 per cent less than their male counterparts, while part-time women earn on average 29.7 per cent less than men working full-time illustrating the systemic undervaluation of “women’s work” which continues to be concentrated in part-time, low-paid jobs. (Source)

Women are four times more likely than men to give up paid work to do unpaid care work. (Source)

The economic value of the unpaid care provided by women in the UK is estimated to be £77bn per year. (Source)


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