Domestic abuse charges reported to Scottish prosecutors, which include attempted rape and serious assault, have hit a five-year high, with cases rising in the first coronavirus lockdown.

According to statistics released by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (Copfs), 33,425 charges relating to domestic abuse were reported between 2020 and 2021.

The figures mean that there has been a 9 per cent rise from the previous years statistics of 30,718 which bring it to the highest rate of domestic abuse charges since 2016.

Whilst figures remained relatively low in March 2020 when the first lockdown was announced, a steady increase was observed in the months of April and May and peaked in July with more than 3,300 during that month.

Lockdown was described by Scotland’s highest law officer, Advocate Depute Dorothy Bain QC, as having a ‘devasting impact’ for domestic abuse victims.

She said: “While the last year has been a challenging one for all of us, for victims of domestic abuse the period of lockdown was particularly difficult and dangerous.

READ MORE : Human trafficking and modern slavery on the rise in Scotland

“All staff at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service have worked hard to protect victims during this time by continuing to prepare cases and prosecute offenders where possible.

“The impact of the pandemic on the justice system, particularly the ability to progress criminal trials, has been significant.

“We have been working with partners across the criminal justice system to respond to the challenges and we will continue to do so, with a focus on ensuring cases progress as efficiently as possible during the pandemic recovery.”

With this five-year high of victims, it was also revealed that the majority of those reported were prosecuted with 92% of cases proceeding to court. This is the same prosecution rate as the previous year and an improvement of the 85 per cent which was reported in 2015.

READ MORE: Domestic abuse incidents recorded by Police Scotland reach 'shameful' 20-year high

Of the domestic abuse related charges which were reported to Copfs, there were two homicides, 573 attempted murder or serious assault charges and 620 were charges of rape or attempted rape.

Statistics also showed that 87 per cent of those accused of domestic abuse over the course of last year were male, at 29975.

Ms Bain added that she understood the devasting impacts that the victims experience can be made worse by the ‘compounding effect of delays and uncertainty, and she vowed to ensure those who come forward with any reports of domestic abuse will be properly supported.