Cases proceeding in the courts in Scotland

Over the past decade, there has been a marked increase in the numbers of sexual crimes appearing before the courts in Scotland; this is largely accounted for by increases in what are known as ‘other sexual crimes’ which include ‘communicating indecently’, ‘indecent photos of children’, ‘sexual exposure’ and ‘public indecency’. Other sexual crimes make up the majority, around 60%, of all sexual crimes. However, the numbers of cases of rape and attempted rape proceeded against in the Scottish courts, have also increased quite substantially in recent years, by 22%, from 246 in 2017-18 to 299 in 2019-20. This is against a background of a decrease in court proceedings for all crimes. (Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2019-20)

In 2020-21, compared to the previous year, the number of proceedings for rape and attempted rape decreased by 49% and the number of convictions decreased by 40%. This decrease in proceedings and convictions is largely a reflection of the impact of the pandemic on court business and, as such, it is reflected across other crime types. (Criminal proceedings in Scotland: 2020-2021)