Dundee saw a spike in the number of sexual crimes reported when lockdown eased in July, new figures show.
A report, which will be discussed by the city council’s community safety and public protection committee later today, has also revealed that both domestic and sexual crimes also increased during the Covid-19 lockdown, when compared with the same period last year.
The statistics, provided by Police Scotland, reveal the week beginning July 11 recorded the highest number of sexual crimes, at 32, during the lockdown period running from April until August 22.
Meanwhile, during the overall five-month period there were a combined total of 1,069 domestic and sex crimes, compared to 913 during the same period in 2019.
Police say the effect lockdown has had on crime generally will take time to properly assess.
Detective Superintendent Nicola Shepherd said: “Reports about sexual offending, both recent and non-recent, and domestic abuse have fluctuated during the lockdown period.
“It will take time to understand the impact lockdown has had on both offending and the reporting of crime.
“We know that the reporting of domestic and sexual crimes continues to be under-reported and we want to reassure people that we are here to help.
“Throughout lockdown, Police Scotland has continued to respond to reports of domestic and sexual crimes.
“We are committed to listening and taking action on all reports, wherever or whenever offences happened.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Women’s Aid has warned the figures could be just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to domestic abuse.
A spokeswoman said: “While Covid-19 has not been causing domestic abuse – domestic abuse is an abuser’s choice, always – lockdown and other associated measures have been giving abusers additional tools to control and isolate women and children and the pandemic has made it more difficult for those experiencing abuse to reach out to family, friends or services for support.
“These figures are distressing in and of themselves, however we must always bear in mind that these reports are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to domestic abuse.
“It lies with all of us – police, judiciary, services, local authorities, individuals and the government – to change the landscape for women and children experiencing domestic abuse.”
Anyone experiencing domestic abuse, or those concerned about someone else, can contact the free 24/7 Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline on 0800 027 12345