Only 20% of stalking incidents are reported

Only one in five of people who have suffered from stalking or harassment in the last year have reported it to police, a survey has revealed.

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A total of 6% of people said they had been a victim of such behaviour in the past 12 months, according to the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey for 2012/13.

But only 20% of victims said they had reported the most recent incident to the police, compared to 64% of those who had had their home broken into and 48% of those who experienced violent crime.

The figures showed that just over half (51%) of stalking victims had received threatening or obscene emails or text messages in the last year while 33% had received silent, threatening or obscene phone calls.

Almost a quarter (24%) of those who had suffered some form of stalking or harassment said they had been subjected to obscene, threatening or nuisance approaches on social networking sites.

Half that number (12%) said they had received threatening or obscene letters or cards.

Meanwhile, 13% of victims said someone had followed them around and watched them, with 12% complaining that someone had been loitering outside their home or work.

A total of 10,235 people were questioned on whether or not they had been the victim of this type of behaviour for the survey, which was carried out between April 2012 and March last year.

While 6% of adults reported suffering at least one form of stalking or harassment in the last 12 months, 2% of those questioned had been the victim of more than one.

The most common reason for not going to the police was people felt the incident was trivial or not worth reporting (35%) while 23% said they had dealt with the matter themselves and 14% said there was nothing the police could have done.

Others did not report stalking and harassment because they felt it was a private, personal or family matter (12%), with one in 10 saying they police would not have been interested and 9% stating the police would not have taken the issue seriously.

One in 20 (5%) did not go to the police because they were frightened involving the authorities could make the situation worse.

Younger people were more likely to have experienced harassment or stalking in the last year, with one in 10 of those aged 25 to 34 saying they had been a victim, compared to 2% of those aged 65 and over.

The survey also found that 4% of women and 1% of men questioned had suffered a serious sexual assault at some point in their life after the age of 16.

More than four of five (83%) of those who had suffered such an attack knew the offender, with 54% stating they had been attacked by their partner.

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