Scottish Crime and Justice Survey

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey people walking

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) is a social survey which asks people about their experiences and perceptions of crime in Scotland. The survey is an important public resource and for the government of Scotland.

The SCJS is a national survey, obtaining responses from around 12,000 adults (aged 16 and over) living in private households. Respondents are selected at random from the Postal Address File and participation in the survey is entirely voluntary. The survey is based on face-to-face interviews which and respondents are also asked to answer a separate self-completion module on more confidential and sensitive issues, including drug taking, partner abuse, sexual victimisation and stalking.

One of the key strengths of the SCJS is its ability to capture crimes that are not reported to, and subsequently not recorded by, the police. The survey also captures attitudinal data, such as perceptions of crime rates, fear of crime and attitudes towards the criminal justice system. Therefore, an important role of the SCJS is to provide an alternative and complementary measure of crime to the police recorded crime statistics, which provide statistics on crimes and offences recorded and cleared up by the eight legacy Scottish police forces. The findings from the SCJS are used by policy makers across the public sector in Scotland to help understand the nature of crime in Scotland, target resources and monitor the impact of initiatives to target crime.

Fieldwork for the SCJS 2012/13 was completed in March, 2013 and the results are now published. Fieldwork is currently underway for SCJS 2014/15 and will finish in March, 2015.


The SCJS 2012/13 Main Findings report was published on Friday 7 March, 2014.

The SCJS 2012/13: Drug Use report was published on Tuesday 24 June, 2014.

The SCJS 2012/13: Partner Abuse report was published on Wednesday 25 June, 2014.

The SCJS 2012/13: Sexual Victimisation & Stalking report was published on Wednesday 25 June, 2014.

Survey Background

The main aims of the SCJS are to:

  • Provide reliable statistics on peoples experience of crime, including services provided to victims of crime
  • Assess the varying risk of crime for different groups of people in the population
  • Examine trends in the level and nature of crime in Scotland over time
  • Collect information about people's experiences of, and attitudes on a range of crime and justice related issues

The collection of survey data on crime and victimisation in Scotland has undergone several key changes in methodology. The SCJS represents a major departure in survey design, methodology and sample size: 2008/09 (c. 16,000 interviews), 2009/10 (c. 16,000 interviews), 2010/11 (c. 13,000 interviews), 2012/13 (c. 12,000 interviews). Prior to this, surveys were administered using paper questionnaires by interviewers on smaller samples (c. 5,000 interviews), and early surveys did not cover the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

Home Security Phonecalls

It has been brought to our attention that some companies who sell home alarm systems sometimes phone members of the public claiming that they are from a crime survey. The SCJS does not telephone people before they are interviewed and does not ask about home security systems. We recommend that if you receive such a call, you do not disclose information about your home security and that you report the call to your local trading standards service or Consumer Direct (08454 040506).