THE NUMBER of cases of domestic rape reported to police almost doubled in the last year, according to figures.
Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said that 357 cases had been reported in 2013-14, up from 197 in the previous year.
The numbers were released as Police Scotland prepares to launch a festive crackdown on domestic abuse, with about a fifth of police time said to be taken up with domestic incidents. A total of 58,976 domestic incidents were reported last year.
Sir Stephen also reported that the number of domestic stalking cases has increased, from 367 in 2012-13 to 569 in the last year.
The increase was attributed to a growing confidence among victims that they will be given proper support but the numbers are believed to be only “the tip of the iceberg”.
Speaking at a domestic violence conference in Edinburgh, Sir Stephen said: “No-one should underestimate the scale of this issue. More than 20% of all police operational time is spent dealing with domestic incidents.
“On average, a domestic incident is reported somewhere in Scotland every nine minutes, which means that what I expect and what I get from our police officers who attend these incidents is an understanding that domestic abuse is a high priority for them.
“The significant increase in the numbers of people coming forward to report these crimes is encouraging as it shows more and more are confident in the support they will receive, but I believe these figures will be the tip of the iceberg.”
Figures released by Police Scotland earlier this year showed that the total number of reported rapes in the first year of the single Scottish force increased by a quarter while sexual assaults overall have risen by a tenth.
There were 1,690 reported rapes in 2013/14, up from 1,372 the previous year, while overall reported sexual assaults - including rape - rose 11% to 8,604 from 7,693.
The figures detailing domestic rape were not included in the statistics earlier this year.
Police said a large number of the sexual assaults can be attributed to an increase in reporting by victims and a rise in historical victims coming forward which may have been driven by the high-profile celebrity sex crime cases of the last year.
In Edinburgh today, Sir Stephen said extra police will be on patrol over the festive period to tackle domestic issues.
“Over the Christmas period we will be running a festive campaign specifically targeted at those who commit these crimes,” he said.
“Many victims are especially vulnerable, often isolated and frequently in danger over the festive period. Abuse can escalate with victims suffering repeatedly at the hands of a partner or ex-partner.
“Our festive campaign will start the week before Christmas and we will have extra police officers on the streets across Scotland.
“It will have a direct focus on preventing abuse and sending a clear message that there is no hiding place - if you do it, we will find you.”