Young women experience highest level of stalking and harassment



Young people, particularly young women, experienced the highest level of stalking and harassment in the last 12 months according to a new survey.

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) 2014/15: Sexual Victimisation and Stalking presents statistics on adults’ experiences of sexual victimisation and stalking taken from interviews with almost 10,000 adults.

It also shows that the proportion of adults reporting experiences of sexual assault and stalking and harassment has remained consistent over recent years.

Stalking and Harassment

The figures show that:

• Overall, 6.4 per cent of adults experienced at least one form of stalking and harassment in the last 12 months.

• The risk of stalking and harassment was equal for men and women.

• Young people, particularly young women, experienced the highest level of stalking and harassment: 12.7 per cent of 16 to 24 years old women had experienced at least one type of stalking and harassment in the last 12 months.

Amongst those who had experienced stalking and harassment in the last 12 months, 45 per cent had received unwanted emails and texts, 32.7 per cent received silent, threatening or unwanted phone calls, and 21.9 per cent were subject to obscene or threatening online contact.

More than half (54.9 per cent) of those who experienced at least one form of stalking and harassment in the last 12 months knew the offender in some way, whilst 15 per cent said the offender was their partner. Nearly a third (30.8 per cent) did not know the offender at all.

Around one fifth of those (18.9 per cent) who experienced at least one type of stalking and harassment in the last 12 months said that the police came to know about the most recent incident. More women than men said that the police came to know about the most recent incident (at 23.2 per cent and 13.5 per cent respectively).

Serious Sexual Assault

Overall, 2.7 per cent of adults experienced at least one form of serious sexual assault since the age of 16, however this was higher for women (4.6 per cent) compared to of men (0.6 per cent).

The overwhelming majority of serious sexual assaults since the age of 16 were carried out:

• by males – 94.1 per cent of victims identified the offender as male.

• by perpetrators known to the victim – 87.4 per cent of those who had experienced serious sexual assault knew the perpetrator, including 54.8 per cent who said it was their partner.

A minority (16.8 per cent) of those who reported experiencing forced sexual intercourse since the age of 16 reported the most recent, or only, incident to the police.

Less Serious Sexual Assault

The SCJS found that 8.3 per cent of adults experienced at least one type of less serious sexual assault since the age of 16 and 1.3 per cent of adults had experienced less serious sexual assault in the last 12 months.

This proportion was higher for women, with 13.5 per cent experiencing at least one form of less serious sexual offence since the age of 16, compared to 2.7 per cent of men.

Men carried out the majority of less serious sexual offences. Amongst those who had experienced at least one type of less serious sexual offending since the age of 16, 92.7 per cent said that the offender was male. This proportion was higher still for female victims, at 98.8 per cent.

The offender-victim relationship varied by the type of less serious sexual offence. Some types were more likely to be perpetrated by strangers, such as indecent exposure (70.9 per cent) and unwanted sexual touching (39.9 per cent), whilst partners were most likely to carry out sexual threats (55.1 per cent).