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DV and sex crime convictions up

Police praised for helping deliver justice

Police have helped deliver a rise in domestic violence and sex offence convictions, the Scottish Justice Secretary says.

New stats show an eight per cent increase in the number of convictions of sexual offences, up to 1,145 in 2014/15.

This includes a 40 per cent rise in convictions for rape and attempted rape, and a 16 per cent increase for sexual assault.

A 13 per cent increase in breach of the peace convictions can largely be put down to more domestic abuse convictions, the Scottish Government says.

There were 15,580 convictions in the period.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: "Recorded crime in Scotland is now at its lowest level in 41 years and the country is becoming a safer place thanks to the combined efforts of our communities and law enforcement agencies backed by over 1,000 extra police officers since 2007.

"This government is committed to tackling violence against women which is why it is extremely encouraging to see more convictions for those who seek to perpetrate domestic and sexual violence.

"Our police and prosecutors are already doing important work to tackle crimes of this nature for instance initial feedback from Police Scotland shows a real impact in building confidence in reporting has been made by the introduction of the National Rape Taskforce.

"We want victims to have the confidence to come forward and report domestic abuse and I hope that today’s figures showing a stark rise in convictions for these types of crimes will help to drive home the message that Scotland will absolutely not tolerate domestic abuse or sexual offences."

Mr Matheson added that more legislation and funding for anti-violence work will be forthcoming.

He added: "In contrast to the rise for sexual offences the number of convictions for non-sexual crimes of violence have dropped for the fourth year in a row. This is also encouraging as it reflects the picture presented by the latest recorded crime stats, that we are seeing fewer crimes of this nature."

The number of custodial sentences handed down overall is at its lowest level for 10 years, falling by one per cent to 13,977.