Domestic abuse was recorded as an incident rather than a crime in some areas of the country and therefore not reported to the procurators-fiscal.
Figures from the police indicate that just 18% of domestic incidents were recorded as crimes in Edinburgh last year. Across Lothian and Borders approximately 24% were recorded. This contrasts with about 78% in the former Strathclyde force area.
The revelation has raised concerns about how certain police force areas have treated domestic abuse and about a lack of uniformity and transparency in recording crimes. Almost a decade ago, the eight former Scottish forces introduced a national crime recording standard which should have led to a victim-orientated approach.
Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House has made it clear that tackling domestic abuse is a major priority for the new force created in April.
A report presented by him to the Scottish Police Authority yesterday states: "Regional variations have been identified in the number of reported domestic abuse incidents which result in a crime report being raised. Work is ongoing to ensure identified best practice in this area is being applied consistently across the county. Year to date, there have been 10,972 crimes recorded, which is a 16.4% increase on the same period last year. The current year to date detection rate is 80.1%."
Assaults in Edinburgh increased by 29.9% in the first three months of Police Scotland as compared to the same three months last year.
The report makes clear that "this is almost entirely due to an increase in common assaults being identified in a domestic abuse context, arising from standardisation of policing practice across Scotland".
Mhairi McGowan head of service for Assist, the expert advocacy and support service for victims of domestic abuse, said: "I welcome the Chief Constable's comments on ensuring consistency of approach in respect of domestic abuse across Scotland. It is crucial that victims, wherever they are, receive the same level of support. This may be the first time they have reported this to anyone so the police response is very important."
Strathclyde reported a 4.7% reduction in Domestic Abuse incidents last year - 1380 fewer incidents - and a 12.9% reduction in Domestic Abuse crimes - 3057 fewer crimes - and an improved detection rate which had risen to 74%.
Overall, domestic incidents between April and the end of June fell by 4% against the same period last year, dropping from 1345 to 1292.
However, the percentage of incidents which saw a report being submitted to the procurator fiscal climbed from 23.6% to 57.7%.
Chief Superintendent Bob Hamilton of Police Scotland, said:"The issues around domestic abuse are complex and can affect anyone, no matter where they live or work.
"Domestic abuse has a significant impact, not only on the individual, but also on wider society and as our policing priority is keeping people safe, tackling domestic abuse is a key focus. We want to send a strong message to people who carry out domestic abuse that it is something we take very seriously and where we find evidence of crime we will act decisively.
"We want to build public confidence to encourage more people to come forward and report abuse."