POLICE are called to a rape or attempted rape by a domestic abuser three times a week in Scotland, new figures show.
Despite crime now being at a 39-year low, officers attended 60,000 domestic incidents in 2012-13, which is the highest in at least ten years.
Just over 30,000 of those resulted in a crime being recorded, slightly lower than the previous three years.
However, sexual offences by domestic abusers rose for the sixth successive year to 248, and is now more than double the 2007-8 level.
Within those figures, rapes and attempted rapes rose to 149 – almost 50 per cent more than three years ago, and almost three times higher than in 2006-7.
However, Scottish Women’s Aid believe under-reporting of all forms of domestic abuse is so great that these figures are just the tip of the iceberg.
Lily Greenan, manager of Scottish Women’s Aid, said: “We expect reported incidents of domestic abuse to continue to rise as the awareness of domestic abuse increases, professionals receive more training and, as a result, women are encouraged to report the abuse they are experiencing to the police.”
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP said: “It’s alarming that such a high percentage of those experiencing domestic abuse have previously reported it to police, some on many occasions.
“We need to discover why so many offenders are able to repeat violent abuse.”
Chief Superintendent Bob Hamilton said: “We recognise the harrowing impact domestic abuse has on victims, their families and the wider community.
“In the last few years we have dedicated significant resources towards tackling domestic abuse. As well as supporting victims, we have placed a much greater emphasis on targeting repeat and serial offenders.”
Alison McInnes MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman, said: “Whilst the rise in reported sexual offences may show that more people are coming forward, the Scottish Government must be unrelentless in its efforts to tackle domestic abuse. Any rise in these repugnant crimes must be investigated.”
The Scottish Government said it had increased funding to tackle domestic abuse by 62 per cent since 2007, to £34.5 million between 2012 and 2015.
Shona Robison, minister for equalities, said: “No-one should doubt our determination and commitment to tackle domestic abuse.
“These incidences of violence remain far too prevalent in our society and advances in technology have created new means for some people to abuse and exploit others.
“These figures demonstrate once again the need to abolish the requirement for corroboration in criminal trials. This is barrier to obtaining justice for the victims of crimes committed in private or where no-one else was there. Abolition alone will not resolve the problems in addressing sexual crime.
“That is why we are working to make sure that victims have the confidence to come forward, that the criminal justice system serves these victims as well as it can and to change attitudes so that crimes like domestic abuse are seen by everyone as the utterly abhorrent crimes they are.
“At the very least, it will allow crimes committed in private, where the victim has suffered in silence, or behind closed doors, to be brought to court.”