Is the murder of women significantly lower in Scotland?


In 2019/20, there were 14 female victims of homicide in Scotland and in England and Wales, 188.[i] [ii]

England and Wales have 10.88 times the population of Scotland so, all things being equal, might be expected to have 152 female victims but have 188, 24% higher.

Now, I am absolutely not saying that statistical significance, which 24% more is, means that there is anything at all to be content or complacent about. I agree, that this high profile murder is only the visible edge of an epidemic of abuse of women across the UK.

I am saying that no facts are, even at this time, off-limits for reasons of taste.

I am also saying that such facts are relevant in the context of the representations of the Scottish male as exceptionally violent and abusive. Comedians have used the idea repeatedly for decades. In 2014, Frankie Boyle suggested Scotland should become an Islamic Republic but that then we’d have to treat our women better! Readers will be aware that these notions persist to this day in drama such as Behind her Eyes on Netflix where the wicked killer was a Scottish working-class man.

I’ve posted this against the wishes of some female family members but this blog lives to counter negative representations of Scotland.



23 thoughts on “Is the murder of women significantly lower in Scotland?

  1. Reading Murray Pittock’s “The Myth of The Jacobite Clans” a theme in the book is that the history of the 45 uprising was (and still is) Told by Whig historians who painted the uprising being composed souly of Barbarians from the Highlands.
    They are still telling us that we are barbarians.

    Too Wee
    Too Stupid
    Too Poor

    There’s a fourth one we’ve forgotten to add to the list

    Too Bad

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clydebuilt
      Ah but you forgot a good few attributes that is most certainly attributable to us and especially so
      To all on the YES side and all who will be won over and they are
      And that shall ensure we are


  2. I understand the reticence of your female family members and I think that it is clear from your piece that you have not written it to belittle the appalling violence that does occur and also that that remains unreported.

    We must confront it but we must so from a position of honesty in all respects, otherwise we give the perpetrators somewhere to hide – ‘we don’t need that crackdown as that’s england’s problem not ours’ type arguement.

    IMHO Stereotypes are always suspect but out of date ones are dangerous.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m afraid I don’t like the idea of making this into yet another who’s doing better contest. I know your aim is to present positives about Scotland and you have been providing covid death comparisons without complaints but this feels wrong somehow. Possibly hypocritical of me , it’s maybe just too soon after the death of yet another woman just walking home.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And yet British nationalist politicians and media crow on their dung heaps about “drug deaths” in Scotland, as if that was a political failing which could be put right by passing, or not passing, a law.

      If it was that easy, then knife crime in England would be solved overnight.

      These are extremely difficult social issues which defy easy solutions.

      Women tend to be victims (sometimes men) because they are weaker and get scapegoated when times are tough financially, or Celts are playing the ‘Gers, or drink/drugs/sex or whatever nutters get off on.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I do not think that the writer is trying to show that Scotland is doing better than England and Wales, but, as he has been doing since he started the blog is to show that the data usually show a different picture from that which has been presented in the media in Scotland and about Scotland, for many years. It is the media which have made it into a competition, by persistently presenting Scotland as ‘the worst’.

      As a Glaswegian – whose last bout of fisticuffs was in Kent Road Primary School playground c1955 – throughout my life I have had references to my likely violence being made. In the film made two years ago about the action by trade unions at Rolls Royce in East Kilbride refusing to service the engines of fighter planes of the Chilean Airforce following the military coup there, there was an interview with a Chilean General saying he would send over a squad to beat them up. To this, the BBC newsreader said ,”Good grief! Don’t you realise these are Glaswegian (sic) working men?”

      It is this representation of Scottish men as drunken, violent, drug abusing, chain-smoking, criminal, that the author is challenging.

      Violence to women, including rape and murder, is appalling and is to be condemned and it also has to be publicised – called out – when it is happening, and by we men, especially. This was the week of International Women’s Day and many women’s groups took the opportunity to present the data about women victims, with the showing of photographs and the naming of victims. I support this without reservation. The abduction and murder of the woman in Clapham and Kent this week is shocking and, inferring from the information leaking out, gruesome. Many women’s campaigners have used this case to raise issues, such as the safety of women walking alone at night. The Mornings programme on BBC Scotland held a phone in on this.

      It is an issue which inevitable arouses powerful emotions, often visceral,
      but we also have to make decisions about how we improve the safety of women and other groups in society and this includes the use of objective data.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. The Brit Nat media, at the behest of Ruthie, remind us daily (hourly) of the “two women” and how they were let down.
    What of the victims of the 40 Tory MPs outed in 2017 by Westminster researchers as being sex pest, bullies and harassers?
    Doesn’t Ruthie and the BEEB care about them?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Let down. They lied in Court. Apologies were given in 2013. Reports were totally exaggerated. Women acted illegally.

      Woman came to the Defence.


  5. Always appears to me that everyone is allowed to say how bad things are in Scotland and we tend to say if its bad we have to try and fix it
    Nobody is ever allowed to say things are bad in England if you do you get the response that its not nice to compare

    Its an unjust situation where comparisons are done where Scotland is worse than England but comparison is frowned upon when England is worse than Scotland

    Well stuff that

    The fact is England is much worse than Scotland in so many ways i would say thats because they have a bigger population and because they readily accept and vote for a right wing tory government all the time
    Scotland doesnt
    Scotland as we see often with SNP mitigation of westminster punishments of the poor , tends more towards a socially responsible outlook

    We need to dump England a union between Scotland and England is not working we are incompatible

    Liked by 2 people

  6. To put that another way, misogyny and racism are both sustained through cultural misrepresentation, which is a form of “symbolic violence”. Contemporary British nationalism inescapably articulates a racially informed cultural patriarchy, that seeks to dominate and exclude the Scottish identity.

    Exploring symbolic violence in the everyday: misrecognition, condescension, consent and complicity

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It often seems to be forgotten that Scotland’s murder rate used to be much higher than England & Wales and was the highest in western Europe. When the SNP came to power in 2007, the murder rate in Scotland was almost double the rate in England & Wales. Since then, Scotland’s murder rate has almost halved while England &Wales has stayed much the same so Scotland’s murder rate is now the same (or lower in some years) than England & Wales.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The snpleftme
      Define woman ?
      Simples to do so
      Firstly seriously
      Very Special as only they can give life and be a Mother
      Half Jokingly
      There are only 2 rules when men are dealing with them
      1.She is always correct
      2.In the event of any doubt arising,Then please refer to Rule 1

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Define woman – define ‘human’ – protect human rights for ALL?

      Source ~ UN Office of the Commission Human Rights (OHCHR, 2012) Born Free and Equal: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Human Rights Law

      ‘The case for extending the same rights to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans- gender (LGBT) persons as those enjoyed by EVERYONE ELSE is neither radical nor complicated. It rests on two fundamental principles that underpin international human rights law: equality and non-discrimination. The opening words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are unequivocal: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.’ (my emphasis)

      “All people, IRRESPECTIVE OF SEX, SEXUAL ORIENTATION OR GENDER IDENTITY are entitled to enjoy the protections provided for by international human rights law, including ….(list) ”

      And alongside the above there is this:

      Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR, 2014) WOMEN’S RiGHTS ARE HUMAN RiGHTS.

      “Ensuring women’s access to justice requires that women enjoy their right to equality before the law, that procedures are in place to guarantee non- discriminatory access to justice and that women have effective access to remedies when their rights have been violated. These rights are provided for under international human rights law, including articles 2.3 (right to a remedy) and 26 (equality before the law) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

      “The right to an effective remedy is relevant for the realization of ALL human rights, and is to be enjoyed on the basis of equality, without discrimination of any form such as on the basis of sex OR gender. …. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women requires State parties to establish legal protection of the rights of women on an equal basis with men and to ensure through competent national tribunals and other public institutions the effective protection of women against any act of discrimination (art. 2 (c)).”

      Picking up on the phrase ‘sex or gender’:

      Source: UN OHCHR ‘UN Free & Equal – transgender’

      “Gender identity refers to a person’s experience of their own gender. Transgender people have a gender identity that is different from the sex that they were assigned at birth. A transgender or trans person may identify as a man, woman, transman, transwoman, as a non-binary person, and with other terms such as …. Trans people may have any sexual orientation, including heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and asexual.”

      The same UN OHCHR document sets out actions for UN member states to follow including:

      “Adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination laws and policies that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression, including in … (list)’.

      “Include gender identity and expression as protected characteristics in hate crime and hate speech laws.

      “Legally recognize the gender identity of trans people in official documents through a simple administrative process based on self-identification without abusive requirements such as forced medical diagnosis, sterilization, treatment or divorce.”

      A final general comment here from me: seeking to protect and to further ALL human rights of ALL individuals is undoubtedly a huge challenge for societies and their policy and law makers. It is most certainly not a challenge unique to Scotland. And I cannot conceive that our society and our elected representatives in Scotland are somehow uniquely ii-equipped to address such challenges either now or later, and either with or without independence. That would be ‘talking down Scotland’!

      Indeed, with or without independence, similar challenges will still arise for us so long as we have a Holyrood Parliament and a distinct Scots legal system (neither of which we should take for granted in the face of activist Unionism). We will not all agree on how best to proceed on each, perhaps on any particular issue. But need that lead to destructive division in a movement focused on realising our independence within the next c. five years?

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Knife crime/murder has gone up in London S/E. 200 more a year. Austerity and withdraw support have increased incidents of murder. Still extremely rare. 67million pop.

    Crime can be linked to drink/drugs. People under the influence commit crime they would not if sober. Regret it. Mental health issues are not addressed. Leading to confusion and depression.Killing can be accidental. Or manslaughter. Provocation. Not intended. They are so called ‘mercy’ killings. Extremely rare. There are still discussions about voluntary euthanasia.

    Men are still 3 times likely to be murdered or assaulted. Violence is gender related. 2/3 of perpetrators are men. Nurture or nature. Women defending themselves against abuse can get a criminal conviction. Women commit none violent ‘crime’. Shoplift to get food, or drugs. If people are addicted. Not paying TV licence or fines. One parent families often headed by a women can struggle. Have a lower income than the norm.

    People on the spectrum not getting required help and support. 50% of people in prison are on the spectrum. Non violent. Their reaction can appear violent if confronted or scared. They need help and support. The Police and society need more training in diversity. For diversity and equality. For those not of the norm. They can be vulnerable and influenced to commit crime by others.

    The Law should be changed. Women who co habit (the majority) do not have equal rights. The have to make a claim (1/3) and fight through Courts. It can cost £thousands and can take years. Women can lose their house. Their home because they do not have equal rights with other women (and men). Property rights. Abused women have to stay in abusive, unhealthy situation to keep a roof over their heads. Children can be affected badly.

    Change the Law. There have been consultations going on for years. Still nothing has been done. It is 2021. Not 1950’s. The legal structure has not kept up.

    There could be a difference between countries. More police numbers or higher no of the elderly, by proportion of population. The elderly commit less violent crime. A different approach and more support. More total abstinence drug counselling and rehabilitation.

    Habitual drugs can be purchased on the internet. Valium etc. Killing people. They were obtained on prescription and checked. Change the internet Laws. Make companies more responsible. Instead of getting away with murder. There are even suicide sites. Encouraging people to kill themselves or others. Depressing.

    States illegally killing other people. Selling illegal weaponry. Killing increasing. Really depressing.


  9. I’ve previously suggested I take critical realism seriously, as it enables the grounding of social action in generative, causal mechanisms, rather than ideology. So here’ a look at how critical realism can improve intersectional methods of social research, to “provide causal explanatory accounts of the ‘lived experiences’ of social privilege and disadvantage”.

    Developing a Critical Realist Positional Approach to Intersectionality


  10. I try posting this again, so apologies if it appears twice.

    I’ve previously suggested I take critical realism seriously, as it enables the grounding of social action in generative, causal mechanisms, rather than ideology. So here’ a look at how critical realism can improve intersectional methods of social research, to “provide causal explanatory accounts of the ‘lived experiences’ of social privilege and disadvantage”.

    Developing a Critical Realist Positional Approach to Intersectionality


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