COPFS figures published today show that prosecutors dealt with over 30,000 domestic abuse charges and over 1500 stalking charges reported by Police Scotland in the year 2017-18.
Prosecutors recognise the devastating impact that both domestic abuse and stalking can have, and are committed to prosecuting such offences effectively and appropriately, and to supporting victims through the criminal justice process.
More than four times as many stalking charges were prosecuted in 2017-18 than in 2011-12*.
Anne Marie Hicks, National Procurator Fiscal for Domestic Abuse, said:
“The Crown takes allegations of stalking extremely seriously, and we have a robust prosecution policy in place to deal with such offences.
“We recognise the devastating impact that stalking can have, and are committed to ensuring our response is informed and only prosecutors who have had specialist training deal with stalking cases.
“The use of social media and other new technologies is common in this type of offending and our training covers this.
This year’s figures are the first to reflect the domestic abuse aggravation which was introduced by the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016. The aggravator, which when proved must be taken into account by the courts in determining the appropriate sentence, was applied in 67% of domestic abuse charges during 2017-18.
Effectively tackling domestic abuse is a shared priority for Police Scotland and COPFS. The Joint Protocol ‘In Partnership: Challenging Domestic Abuse’ between COPFS and Police Scotland reflects the continuing commitment of police and prosecutors to addressing domestic abuse effectively and rigorously. The Protocol is regularly revised, in consultation with key stakeholders representing the views of victims and children, to ensure that it remains a reflection of current best practice and a meaningful source of guidance to investigators and prosecutors.
* The stalking offence, section 39 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 came into force on 13th December 2010.#
To review the data, please see here.