Rape & Attempted Rape Convictions Up 40% In A Year

23 February 2016, 19:39

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has welcomed new figures showing an increase in the number of convictions for domestic abuse and sexual offences.

Convictions for breach of the peace were up 13% in 2014-15, driven by offences with a domestic abuse element including stalking and threatening behaviour.

There has also been an 8% increase in the overall number of convictions for sexual offences, including a 40% rise in the number of convictions for rape and attempted rape.

The Government said an increase in the number of victims coming forward and a more consistent approach to the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences are ``potential factors'' behind the rise.

Mr Matheson said: "This Government is committed to tackling violence against women, which is why it is extremely encouraging to see more convictions for those who seek to perpetrate domestic and sexual violence.

"Our police and prosecutors are already doing important work to tackle crimes of this nature, for instance initial feedback from Police Scotland shows a real impact in building confidence in reporting has been made by the introduction of the national rape taskforce.

"We want victims to have the confidence to come forward and report domestic abuse, and I hope that today's figures showing a stark rise in convictions for these types of crimes will help to drive home the message that Scotland will absolutely not tolerate domestic abuse or sexual offences.''

The number of convictions for non-sexual violent crime, meanwhile, dropped for the fourth year in a row.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC said: "There were double the number of rape and attempted rape convictions last year than there were ten years ago.

"It is extremely encouraging that more victims have had the confidence to come forward to report these crimes.

"In recent years the Crown has set up a specialist sexual offences unit led by experienced prosecutors and we have appointed specialists to lead domestic abuse investigations, and this approach appears to have made a significant difference.''

The overall number of people convicted of a crime increased by less than 1% to 106,507 in 2014-15.

The average custodial sentence length, excluding life sentences, was around nine-and-a-half months.