We will ‘root out’ persistent violence, Justice Secretary pledges

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has pledged to tackle “persistent violence” after it was revealed more than half of all violent crime in Scotland is suffered by repeat victims.

Repeat victims experienced an average of three violent crimes, the 2018-19 Scottish Crime and Justice Survey found, accounting for 59% of all the violent offences during that period.

Across Scotland, fewer than one in every 100 adults was a victim of more than one violent crime, while one in 1,000 experienced five or more incidents, according to the Scottish Government’s study.

Violent crime has fallen over the last decade, with 2.3% of adults being subjected to it in the latest year, down from 4.1% in 2008-09.

Overall crime also down by 16% since 2017-18, according to the findings.

Researchers questioned approximately 5,500 people across the country about their experience of crime in an attempt to find out more about unreported incidents.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “We saw last week with the publication of our Crime and Justice Survey that violent crime has reduced by nearly half in the last decade but we are not complacent and will continue to work to reduce this further.

“We are determined to root out persistent violence where it exists and I welcome this report which will help us – working with police, local authorities and others – to determine how best to further reduce violence, with fewer victims and still safer communities.

“We have invested more than £17 million in violence prevention since 2006-07, including funding the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, Medics Against Violence and our No Knives Better Lives programme, as well as the Mentors in Violence Prevention programme delivery in schools.”

The survey, published last week, also revealed one in nine Scots have been the victim of stalking or harassment in the last year – with almost a fifth of young people affected.

A total of 11.1% adults said they had suffered at least one form of this, while for those aged 16 to 24 the total rose to 19%.

The most common form of harassment was receiving unwanted messages by text, email or social media, with more than two-thirds (67%) experiencing this.

Some 4% of those who had experienced some form of stalking or harassment said intimate pictures had been shared without their permission, 10% said they had been followed and 11% had spotted someone loitering outside their home.

While around half of all victims knew the perpetrator in some way, in two-fifths of cases (41%) the offender was someone they had never seen before.