More than 61,000 domestic abuse incidents reported in Scotland – How to make a claim

Domestic abuse continues to be a critical social issue in Scotland, as figures show that almost 62,000 incidents were reported to police last year.


Domestic abuse refers to a pattern of abusive behaviour, typically towards a romantic or family relationship.

Domestic abuse often occurs when the abuser exerts power and control over the victim and can be physical, mental, sexual or economic in nature.


Domestic abuse incidents


According to Scottish government statistics, the police recorded 61,934 domestic abuse incidents in Scotland for the year 2022-23. In 39% of the recorded incidents, at least one crime or offence was documented.

The most frequently recorded crime was common assault, making up 32% of all offences related to domestic abuse. This was followed by threatening and abusive behaviour, which accounted for 21% of the crimes.

Notably, since the enactment of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, crimes under this legislation comprised 5% of the offences recorded in 2022-23.

But if you have been a victim of domestic abuse, you may be entitled to claim compensation for the damages you have suffered.


Incident rates and geographic distribution in Scotland

The overall rate of domestic abuse incidents was 114 per 10,000 population. However, some areas experienced significantly higher rates, highlighting how some areas need more interventions to prevent these incidents from happening:

  • Dundee City – Reported the highest rate with 180 incidents per 10,000 population
  • West Lothian – 148 incidents per 10,000 population
  • Glasgow City – 141 incidents per 10,000 population


Gender and age groups

The data reveals persistent gender disparities in domestic abuse cases. In incidents where gender information was recorded, 81% involved a female victim and a male suspected perpetrator.

Meanwhile, figures show people aged between 31 to 35 years old showed the highest incident rates for both victims (277 per 10,000) and suspected perpetrators (245 per 10,000).


Timing of incidents

Domestic abuse incidents were slightly more likely to occur on weekends, with 32% of cases reported between Friday and Sunday. Additionally, a significant majority of these incidents (90%) took place in a home or dwelling, highlighting the private nature of this crime.


How to claim compensation for domestic abuse

Compensation for domestic abuse can be claimed through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) up to two years after the incident or two years from when the incident is reported.

The CICA was set up by the UK government to award domestic violence victims compensation. You do not need to know your attacker and they do not need to have been convicted or charged with the crime to make a claim.

However, the CICA uses strict guidelines, and using an experienced solicitor, they will help you navigate the complexities of the scheme.


CICA guidelines


Reporting to police

The Scheme requires that the incident has been reported to the police, and if the crime for which you are seeking compensation has not been reported to the police, the CICA will not award compensation.

The incident must also be reported to the police as soon as is reasonably practicable. Where you have delayed reporting the incident to the police, the CICA will ask you to explain why you delayed.


Does the suspect need to be convicted before I claim?

It is not necessary for the person who injured you to be identified, or convicted, for you to be eligible for a payment. However, the Scheme requires that you co-operate as far as is reasonably practicable in bringing the assailant to justice.


What types of abuse does the CICA cover?

The CICA will award compensation for the following types of abuse:

  • Mental or physical injury following a crime of violence
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Loss of earnings – Where you have no or limited capacity to work as the direct result of a criminal injury
  • Special expenses payments – These cover certain costs you may have incurred as a direct result of an incident. You can only ask us to consider special expenses if your injuries mean you have been unable to work or have been incapacitated to a similar extent for more than 28 weeks
  • A fatality caused by a crime of violence including bereavement payments, payments for loss of parental services and financial dependency; and funeral payments


I have more than one injury, will it affect my compensation?

If you have two or more injuries so serious that each, on its own, would qualify, you may be entitled to:

  • 100 per cent of the full tariff value of the most serious injury; and
  • 30 per cent of the tariff amount for the injury with an equal or second-highest value; plus
  • 15 per cent of the tariff amount for any additional injury with an equal or third highest value.


The Scheme does not pay for more than three injuries. However, there are additional tariff payments which you can receive if, as a direct result of your injury or assault, you:

  • Become pregnant
  • Lose a foetus, or
  • Contract a sexually transmitted disease

How long will my claim take?

The CICA advises that, from the date that they receive an application, it aims to take around eighteen months to make its initial decision on a claim.

This timescale can vary depending on the circumstances of the assault, the severity of injuries, and the complexity of the overall claim.


Why should I use a solicitor to make my claim?

At present, the CICA tells claimants they do not need to seek legal advice to make a claim, but figures show that those who do have a much better outcome.

This is because the CICA can be deceptively complex, and without legal advice, victims do not have the knowledge to know if the CICA’s offer is fair, or have the confidence to challenge the initial decision.

The CICA also has strict criteria and deadlines that need to be met, which can be confusing and overwhelming for those without legal knowledge, and often results in a rejected claim.

Data provided by the CICA shows a huge discrepancy between the amount of compensation offered to victims before and after an appeal. From 2022 to 2023, there were 379 CICA cases where compensation was offered at an appeal. In these cases, an average of £7,848 was initially offered.

However, after an appeal, the average rose to £47,339 – six times more than the initial offer.

By using an experienced solicitor we can help you claim the compensation you are entitled to.


Why use Oakwood Scotland Solicitors for my domestic abuse claim?

Oakwood Scotland Solicitors agrees to work on your CICA criminal injury claim on a ‘no-win, no-fee’ basis. If your claim is unsuccessful, you will not be expected to pay us a penny.

If you are successful in your claim, we take a percentage of the compensation meaning that the only time we will receive money is if we have brought your claim to a fruitful conclusion.

You will have a dedicated advisor who will see your claim through from start to finish, assisting you in the event of any queries or issues you may have. If it is preferable to you, we can assign you one of our female advisors to carry out your claim.

Your case handler will also continue to provide regular updates until the conclusion of your claim, ensuring the process is as stress-free and effortless as possible.


Further reading

For information about criminal injury claims, check out our resource.



Get in touch today for a no-obligation consultation. Choose one of the methods on this page, or call us on 0141 406 3324 to find out how we can help you with your enquiry.

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