Scotland

Rise in sex crime convictions in Scotland

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Convictions for sex crimes in Scotland have risen in the last year, according to new figures.

There was a significant increase (43%) in rape and attempted rape convictions between 2017-18 and 2018-19.

However there has been a slight drop in the number of sexual assault convictions, according to a Scottish government report.

It also found that convictions for all sex crimes have risen by 46% over the last 10 years.

This reflects a huge rise (73%) in the number of sex cases before the courts in the past decade - even though court proceedings for all crimes have decreased.

The category of "other sexual crimes" has grown, now making up the majority (60%) of all sex crimes.

This is partly driven by an increase in convictions for crimes such as "communicating indecently".

Key figures

  • Convictions for sex crimes in Scotland have risen by 46% in the last 10 years
  • Rape and attempted rape convictions rose by 43% (from 106 to 152) between 2017-18 and 2018-19
  • The conviction rate for these crimes increased to 47% last year (152 convicted out of 324 cases)
  • 6% drop in conviction rates for sexual assaults
  • Overall number of convictions for sexual crimes rose by 9% to 1,215

Impact on victims 'devastating'

Custodial sentences are getting longer according to the figures, but more than a quarter (26%) of jail terms handed out by courts were for three months or less.

This was despite the Scottish government's aim to ban such short sentences, which has recently been raised to a presumption against any jail term of less than a year.

A government spokeswoman said that while the number of overall convictions in Scotland is at the lowest level since 1970, the impact on victims - particularly of sexual or violent crimes - "can be devastating".

She continued: "That is why we have focused on strengthening how Scotland's justice system and other public services respond to victims, while investing in both law enforcement and crime prevention.

"The Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill, which is introduced to Parliament today, maintains our focus on the effective operation of the justice system to keep people safe."

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