The number of homicides across Scotland has fallen by 20 cases (25 per cent) since 2009/10. There were 61 victims of homicide recorded in 2018/19; two victims (or three per cent) more than the 59 recorded the previous year. Following the 59 cases in both 2015/16 and 2017/18, this is the third-lowest number of recorded cases for a single 12-month period since 1976. In Scotland, the number of homicide cases has remained fairly stable, with figures staying between 59 and 63 cases every year since 2012/13.
Findings from the report
Median age for homicide victim was 42 years old
According to the latest data, the average age of a homicide victim in Scotland during 2018/19 was 42 years old; three years older than recorded in 2017/18. In the last decade, the median age of the victim has ranged between 33 and 42 years old.
Male victims account for three-quarters of all homicide victims
There were 46 male victims, accounting for 75 per cent of all homicide victims in 2018/19. Males are more likely to be victims than females, with an overall rate of 17 victims per million population. This compares with just five victims per million population for females.
More than half of female victims killed by partner or ex-partner
In the last decade, 52 per cent of female victims aged 16-70 years old were killed by their partner or ex-partner. This compared with just five per cent of male victims of the same age who were killed by their partner or ex-partner.
Instead, male victims of homicide were more likely to be killed:
- By an acquaintance (61 per cent);
- By a stranger (23 per cent); and
- By a relative (three per cent).
Following death by a partner, the next most common relationship between a female victim and the accused was being killed by an acquaintance (27 per cent), a son or daughter (eight per cent), and by a stranger (seven per cent).
Glasgow City had the highest number of homicides
The latest statistics showed that 13 homicide cases were recorded in Glasgow City, representing 22 per cent of the nation’s total. Despite this, Glasgow City has witnessed a relatively larger fall in homicides of 35 per cent since 2009/10, accounting for over one-third of the overall decrease across Scotland.
Majority of homicides happened in a residential location
In 2018/19, 62 per cent of homicides occurred within a residential location (dwelling and other residential). This was followed by outdoor public places (30 per cent) and indoor public places (five per cent). In the last decade, 83 per cent of all female victims were killed in a dwelling compared with 55 per cent of males.
Sharp instruments are the most common method of killing
The most common way of killing in the last ten years has been with a sharp instrument. In 2018/19, a sharp instrument was the primary method of killing for 44 per cent (27) of homicide victims, of which all but two involved a knife. The next most common method was with a blunt instrument, accounting for 23 per cent (14 cases) of homicides in 2018/19. There were also three victims who were killed by shooting in the last year.
Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, commented on the findings:
“While the number of homicides in Scotland is significantly lower than a decade ago – in line with the overall fall in crime – any death is one too many.
“We are determined to help people break free from cycles of violence. We will continue our efforts to drive down violent crime, supporting prevention work with people of all ages and ensuring Scotland’s law enforcement agencies and courts have the resources to deal with those who harm others.”
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