Almost 50% of rapes reported to police involved the partner or ex-partner of the victim, new statistics have found.
Police Scotland data showed that from April 1 2020 to January 31 2021, 46% of reported rapes were linked to existing or former relationships.
While there was a decrease of 7.1% in reported rapes from April to January 2020/21 compared to 2019/20, police say that all forms of sexual crime continued to be under-reported.
Police Scotland are launching their Get Consent campaign, which aims to spread the message that all sex without consent is rape – including within a relationship.
The campaign builds on Police Scotland’s focus on preventing rape and reinforcing the need for consent in all relationships.
Assistant Chief Constable, Judi Heaton, said: “Almost half of rapes reported to us are perpetrated within a relationship or by an ex-partner. I cannot be clearer on this, being in a relationship does not give anyone the right to sex.
“Sex without consent is rape – no justifications, no excuses. Our campaign focuses on rape within relationships and seeks to tackle these issues head on.
“Our primary aim has to be to prevent rape and sexual crime. Our message to perpetrators and those at risk of offending is: no-one is entitled to sex. Sex without consent is rape – so make sure you get consent.”
Sandy Brindley, chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: “We all know survivors of sexual violence whether we know about it or not, which is why we must always talk about these issues with care and compassion.
“Lots of people still hold onto ideas about what rape looks like and caricatures of who is a rapist, but these are often based on age old stereotypes and can be really harmful for many people in terms of being able to recognise and understand their experience as sexual violence.
“Most sexual crimes are committed by someone known to the individual and many of these by a partner or ex-partner.
“More than anything it’s important for people to know that they don’t have to cope alone.
“No matter what happened or when, Rape Crisis support is available for anyone affected by sexual violence in Scotland, regardless of whether or not someone wants to report to the police.”
Rape Crisis Scotland’s national helpline is available on 08088 01 03 02 every day from 6pm until midnight for anyone affected by sexual violence, no matter when or how it happened.