Incidents of domestic abuse reported to Police Scotland dropped by 3% in 2015-16, according to official figures published today.

Over the 12 months to 31 March 2016 there were 58,104 incidents of domestic abuse, compared to 59,882 in 2014-15.

However in only 51% of recorded incidents did the police record one or more offences as having been committed.

In 79% of cases there was a female victim and a male accused, a figure that has declined from 87% since 2006-07. The opposite scenario has increased from 11% to 18% over the same period.

In half of reported domestic abuse cases, the victim, accused or both were already known to police for previous incidents, whether or not involving both parties.

The statistics also show that 87% of domestic abuse incidents took place in the home, and 36% at weekends.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson commented: “We welcome the drop in the number of domestic abuse incidents recorded, against a backdrop of an overall fall in recorded crime, and we remain confident that more victims are refusing to stay quiet about what is happening to them. I believe this is in no small part down to better understanding of this unacceptable behaviour and the support services available for those in need.

“Earlier this month we announced an extra £665,000 to expand advice and support services for victims of gender-based violence, through the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre. We have also invested £7.2m over three years (2015-18) to ensure court waiting times for domestic abuse cases are prioritised, and created a new domestic abuse aggravation.

“We are now preparing new legislation to tackle domestic abuse which takes the form of controlling and coercive behaviour, widening our laws to reflect the damage of this kind of psychological abuse.”