Women and Justice

What we already know

Similar proportions of men and women are victims of crimes, but far more men commit them. While women make up the majority of law students and solicitors in Scotland, they continue to be under-represented in more senior legal positions, including in the judiciary.

While significant proportions of lesbian, bisexual and trans women experience hate crime, the vast majority of LGBT hate crimes go unreported. Normalisation of hate crime, hearing poor experiences of reporting and concerns that reporting could result in the victim being ‘outed’ are among the key reasons.

A significant proportion of women in Scotland have experienced violence against women during their lives. Almost 1 in 5 have experienced partner abuse, with women with disabilities or long-term illnesses, those living in deprived areas, and bisexual and lesbian women more likely to experience partner abuse. Only a small proportion of incidents of partner abuse are reported to the police. Both court cases and convictions for rape or attempted rape are rising, but these continue to have the lowest conviction rate of any crime.

  • 19% of women in Scotland have experienced partner abuse since the age of 16.
  • Women are five times as likely as men to have experienced indecent exposure, sexual threats and/or unwanted sexual touching.
  • 49% of the female victims of homicide in the last 10 years (aged 16-70) were killed by their partner or ex-partner
  • 21% of LGBT women experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last year.
  • 81% of domestic abuse incidents recorded by the police have a female victim and a male accused.
  • Only 20% of domestic abuse incidents and 17% of incidents of forced sexual intercourse become known to the police.
  • 87% of those who experience serious sexual assault know the offender in some way, with 55% saying that the offender was their partner.
  • Women account for 18% of criminal convictions. • 30% of police officers are female.
  • 26% of the Scottish judiciary are women.

Further reading: Scottish Government Analytical Services – State of the Nation