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National Indicator: Crime Victimisation Rates

This national indicator is currently being reported on the new national performance website and can be found here:


l Reduce crime victimisation rates

Indicator Measure
Proportion of people in Scotland who have been the victim of one or more crimes in the past year

Current Status
The risk of being a victim of crime has been maintained over the last two years. In 2016/17 the risk of being a victim of crime was 13.4%. This is 7.0 percentage points lower than the baseline year of 2008/09.

1992 - 2016/17

Source: Scottish Crime and Victimisation Survey
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

Last Update: ​27 March 2018
Next Update: March 2020

Reduce crime victimisation rates

Why is this National Indicator important?
What will influence this National Indicator?
What is the Government's role?
How is Scotland performing?
What more do we know about this National Indicator?
Criteria for recent change
Further information
Who are our partners?
Related Strategic Objectives

Why is this National Indicator important?

Crime victimisation rates measure the incidence of personal and household crimes - as perceived by victims of crime themselves, rather than police records of reported crimes. We believe this provides a better measure of the actual incidence of crime in our communities. A high victimisation rate suggests an unsafe community, which impacts on people's quality of life and may deter public and private improvements or investment and reduce the residential desirability of an area.

What will influence this National Indicator?

Victimisation rates, particularly those associated with property crime, are affected by wider economic and social trends. In an unfavourable or declining economy, crime can increase. Poor earning power, unemployment or frustration with the resulting deprivation are factors which may lead people to commit criminal acts. Other factors affecting crime levels include alcohol abuse and drug dependency - many crimes of violence, including sexual offences, are committed while perpetrators are drunk or under the influence of drugs. The 'drugs trade' itself is involved in many criminal offences and supports other criminal behaviour.

What is the Government's role?

We will lead efforts to create a safe, just and resilient Scotland, working with a range of partners to grow our communities that feel safe and are safe, allowing individuals, families and businesses to thrive.

Prevention and early intervention are at the heart of what we do to further reduce crime, improve wellbeing and improve life chances. We are committed to driving forward reforms and initiatives to prevent offending and reoffending - focusing especially on early intervention, providing opportunities for young people and keeping them out of trouble. Preventative approaches are crucial. Intervening early, engaging with young people and getting the right help at important times in their lives - especially for the most vulnerable - these are vital steps to divert them from the wrong choices.

In recent years we have come to understand more about the relationship between Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) and future offending. ACEs are traumatic experiences that can have a profound effect on development and through a ‘whole systems approach’ we continue to actively support prevention, early intervention and multi disciplinary support.  Invest in the pre-school years, providing intensive support for some families, equipping children with the skills to make a positive contribution through Curriculum for Excellence and the whole system approach to youth offending are all specific examples of this approach.

This Government has a clear role in tackling the underlying causes of crime and in preventing it happening in the first place. Where services are focused on prevention, we know that there will be less likelihood of costly interventions further down the line. The approach is exemplified in successful programmes such as No Knives Better Lives and Mentors in Violence Prevention which help and support young people to change or challenge behaviours.


The Violence Reduction Unit’s Navigator programme is a further example of the preventative approach we are taking ( ). Less than a third of emergency department patients who are victims of violence report the incident to the police. The Navigators therefore use the opportunity provided when people with chaotic lifestyles are admitted to hospital, to help them gain access to vital services.

More broadly, we have invested in the justice system. We are providing real terms protection to the police resource budget, allowing Police Scotland to provide an effective and visible police presence which is helping tackle offending and reducing the fear of crime. We are committed to coming down hard on serious and organised crime and we have established the Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce to ensure all key law enforcement agencies are working together on this. Reconviction rates for those given a Community Payback order are lower than those released from a short prison sentence. The Government supports Criminal Justice Social Work in delivering robust community sentences, including through ring-fenced funding, and intends to extend the presumption against short prison sentences to further support the shift from custody to community. The proposed expansion in electronic monitoring set out in the Management of Offenders Bill supports the broader community justice policies of preventing and reducing reoffending by increasing the options available to manage and monitor individuals in the community, and to further protect public safety. 

The Government can also promote and encourage innovative approaches to make communities safer. We continue to use seized criminal assets to benefit communities through our unique 'CashBack for Communities' initiative and we continue to Build Safer Communities through shared learning and experience.

As well as continued government investment in policing and funding partners such as Neighbourhood Watch Scotland, Crimestoppers and the Scottish Business Resilience Centre. In the year ahead  further work is underway into those areas where violence persists to examine a large sample of crime records to identify further the characteristics of victims and offenders, including their relationships, as well as the settings for these crimes, the injuries sustained and the role of weapons, alcohol or drugs.

How is Scotland performing?

The risk of being a victim of crime has been maintained over the last two years. In 2016/17 the risk of being a victim of crime was 13.4%. This is 7.0 percentage points lower than the baseline year of 2008/09.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

What more do we know about this National Indicator?

There were some differences between victimisation rates for respondent and area characteristics:

  • The risk of being a victim of any crime was higher for younger respondents, for example one fifth (19.5%) of 16 to 24 year olds experienced at least one crime in 2016/17.
  • The risk of being a victim of crime was higher for adults living in the 15% most deprived areas in Scotland (19.4%), compared to those living in the rest of Scotland (12.3%).
  • The risk of being a victim of crime was higher for adults living in urban areas in Scotland (14.8%), compared to those living in rural areas (6.8%).

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

Criteria for recent change

This evaluation criteria is based on the actual results presented in the Scottish Crime & Justice Survey Main Findings report for detecting statistically significant change. The calculation of the statistically significant criteria for change uses the SCJS estimates and their base sizes to calculate an accurate test statistic to compare against the absolute difference between two estimates.

The evaluation this year is based on: any difference within +/- 1.4 percentage point of previous survey suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 1.4 percentage point or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 1.4 percentage point or more suggests the position is worsening.

The change of 1.1 percentage points between 2016/17 (13.4%) 2014/15 (14.5%) is not a statistically significant change. The change is therefore within the criteria for change (measured as 1.4% this year) and so performance for this indicator is ‘maintaining’.

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Who are our partners?

Economic development bodies

Local Authorities

Scottish Courts Service

Scottish Police forces

Scottish Police Services Authority

Scottish Prison Service

Victim Support Scotland

Related Strategic Objectives

Wealthier and Fairer

Safer and Stronger

View National Indicator Data

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Title:Reduce crime victimisation rates
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