The conviction rate for sexual assaults in Scotland has reached its lowest level in a decade, according to official figures.

A Scottish Government report published on Tuesday revealed that the rate for 2018-19 was just 56 per cent - a drop of 17 percentage points on the 2009-10 figure.

The downwards trend was described as "worrying" by Rape Crisis Scotland, while the report itself stated that it was one of the "most notable declines" in conviction rates over the last ten years

Meanwhile, the average sentence for sexual assaults also dropped to a ten year low of around two years and three months.

The statistics showed a slight increase in the conviction rate for the more serious crimes of rape and attempted rape, from 43% to 47%, however it remains the lowest compared to all other crimes.

Sandy Brindley, chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: "The vast majority of survivors of sexual crimes do not see a court room, let alone justice.

"Figures released today show the conviction rate for rape and attempted rape continues to be the lowest for all crime types, as it has been for the last decade. This is something that should concern us all.

"The average acquittal rate for crimes overall is 6%. For rape and attempted rape this is 52% and for sexual assault this is 39%.

"It is worrying to see that convictions for sexual assault have dropped to their lowest rate in 10 years. These figures reinforce our fears that survivors of sexual violence are being let down by the justice system."

Opposition politicians also raised concerns about the figures, with Scottish Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur describing the sexual assault conviction rate as "disturbing" and "desperately low".

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr added: "Victims of sexual assault will be devastated to read these statistics.

"Increasing the conviction rate for these crimes has been a priority for some time, but no progress is being made.

"This can have a harrowing impact on those who’ve been brave enough to come forward and report them."

The statistics show that, overall, a total of 89,733 people appeared in Scotland's criminal courts in 2018-19 - a fall of 6% on the previous year.

The number of convictions fell at the same rate to 78,503.

This continues a general downward trend in court activity over the last ten years.

Convictions for non-sexual violent crimes dropped by 3% to 1,781, though robbery convictions fell sharply by 12% to 361.

Attempted murder and serious assault convictions were almost unchanged at 1,172.

In fraud cases, the number of convictions fell year on year from 471 to 408. This compares to 1,142 cases in 2009-10 - a 64% drop within a ten year period.

Looking at custodial sentences, there was an increase of 2% in the number of jail terms being imposed, the first increase since 2011-12.

The figures also showed a 51% increase in the number of convictions where the crime was aggravated by the victim being disabled.

The number of convictions related to domestic abuse fell by 7% to 9,210, the fourth consecutive year of decline.

The Criminal Proceedings in Scotland publication is based on data from Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.