A 2018 survey of Scottish solicitors shows that one-third of its respondents have been victims of violence or threatening behaviour in connection with their work.
The Violence Survey 2018 findings are part of the Law Society of Scotland Journal’s employment survey which also gathers data on pay, work life balance and views on the future of the country’s legal profession.
There are around 11,000 solicitors in Scotland and the survey report paints a dark picture of the rate of threatening behaviour and violence, mostly at the hands of clients. The survey attracted 1,168 responses.
The findings show that almost 40% of criminal defence solicitors, 25% of family lawyers and 19% of prosecutors have been victims of violence.
70% of criminal defence solicitors, 54% of family lawyers and 61% of prosecutors have been victims of threatening behaviour yet just 20% of physical attacks on solicitors were reported.
“I am extremely alarmed by the survey findings,” says Alison Atack, President of the Law Society of Scotland on the organisation’s website.
“We intend to take forward our initial recommendations, including working with other organisations in the legal and justice sectors, as a matter of urgency to try to minimise the risk of violence against people working in the legal sector,” Ms Atack says.
Incident reports are also low, with women appearing to be less likely than men to make a report. Around 20% of violent incidents were reported to the police while just 12.5% of incidents of threatening behaviour and 14.5% of threatening communications were reported.