- First published in : Visit Website
- First published on: 31st Dec 2021
Here is a quite staggering statistic: sexual offences currently account for 70% of the criminal business dealt with by Scotland’s High Court. And, as we head into a new year, Scotland’s criminal courts are facing a serious backlog of cases, the vast majority of which involve rape and male violence against women. The backlog has built up since the courts had to close at the start of lockdown in 2020, but even before then the system was struggling to cope.
It is against this background that the Lord Advocate has told MSPs that “radical action” is needed. The World Health Organisation describes sexual violence against women as a major public health problem and a violation of women’s rights which perpetuates gender inequality. The delay in bringing cases to trial is having a particular impact on women and girls at a time when we face an epidemic of male violence against women.
The Lord Advocate is also concerned about the low conviction rate in sexual offence cases. Scottish Government statistics show that just 43% of cases of rape and attempted rape in 2019-2020 resulted in a conviction rate – compared to a rate of 88% for all crimes.