THE number of domestic abuse charges reported to the procurator fiscal in the last year has dropped by nearly two per cent, new figures show.

A report on domestic abuse and stalking charges in Scotland (2021-22) was published by the Scottish Government on Wednesday (September 21).

The report provides information on charges identified as relating to domestic abuse, under section one of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, following the introduction of this legislation in April 2019.

In 2021-22, 32,776 charges were reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) with a domestic abuse identifier.

This is a decrease of 1.9 per cent compared to the previous year’s (2020-21) total of 33,425.

The report also states that the majority of charges identified as being related to domestic abuse are prosecute,d with an initial decision being made to proceed to court on 93 per cent of reports during 2021-22.

It also reveals that the most common types of offences reported during this period with a domestic abuse identifier were threatening and abusive behaviour offences (28 per cent), common assault (25 per cent), and crimes against public justice (23 per cent, includes bail offences).

On April 2019, the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 came into force. It created a new statutory offence of engaging in behaviour which is abusive of a partner or ex-partner.

Under this legislation, 1,790 charges were reported in 2021-22, accounting for 5.5 per cent of all domestic abuse charges reported.

This figure represents an increase of 13 per cent on the previous year’s total of 1,581 (4.7 per cent of all domestic abuse charges reported in that year).

In 2021-22, 1,010 stalking charges, under section 39 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 were reported to the procurator fiscal.

Of these, 57 per cent (571) were identified as domestic abuse.