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Sex crimes in Scotland reach record high despite general decrease in crime

Content warning: Sexual violence

There has been a sharp increase in the annual rate of sex crimes committed in Scotland, according to statistics reported by the BBC.

The statistics reveal that there were “more than 10,000 sexual crimes last year – five per cent more than in 2006/07”.

The rise in sex crimes can be contrasted with a four per cent drop in overall crime since 2014/15.

This is the lowest it has been since 1974 when the amount of unsolved murders was considerable.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Justice told the BBC that a number of the documented sex crimes include historical accounts only just reported this year.
Matheson also recognises that the rise in numbers is alarming.

He mentions that justice authorities have taken several preventative measures, such as investing £10.5m in “violence reduction programs” since 2006/07, in hopes of a resolution.

In conjunction with investing in these anti-violence programs – which have actually reduced violent crime by more than half – the Cabinet Secretary stated: “While higher levels of recorded sexual crime are broadly in line with UK trends, [this includes] a significant number of historical cases and may reflect greater willingness by victims to come forward, such incidents are completely unacceptable.”

Despite the Scottish Government’s investment of an additional £20m over the last three years in an attempt to tackle the issue of violence against women and domestic abuse, the report shows that “the number of attempted rapes increased by 13 per cent last year to a record high.”

The Telegraph reports that the rate of rape has “increased by 60 per cent over the past five years” and “the number of other sex crimes increased 20 per cent […] in a single year [including] victims aged between 13 and 15, indecent photographs of children, incest and indecent exposure.”

These statistics are especially significant for those in more populous cities, where sex crimes are more commonly reported.

Ian Livingstone, Deputy Chief Constable, told the BBC that the “crime picture” is essentially positive.

Livingstone elaborates on his statement in the article, adding: “The increase in the report of sexual crime is in part a reflection of the increased level of confidence the public has in reporting this type of crime to the police – with the knowledge that every complaint will be handled sensitively and professionally.”

“Police Scotland will continue to engage with the public to identify issues in local communities across Scotland that will direct and inform the shape of policing for the future.”

 

Image: Kirsty Hall

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