Reports of rape when the country was in lockdown dropped just over 20% on the same period as last year, according to Police Scotland.
Between the start of lockdown on March 24 and July 5, just before Scotland entered phase three of the route map, 529 rapes were recorded – representing a 20.2% reduction on the same period in 2019, Police Scotland said.
The force said reports have increased again as lockdown has eased but the figures remain lower than in 2019.
Between March 24 and November 15, the number of both recent and non-recent offences reported was down 6.5% – 1,427 compared with 1,526 for the same period in 2019.
A recent offence is one within a year of the crime occurring – reports of which are down 10.8% in the March to November period from 959 in 2019 to 855 this year – while non-recent is more than a year.
Despite the decrease in figures, the force issued a reminder that a reduction in reporting does not mean less offending as all forms of sexual crime continue to be under-reported.
Assistant Chief Constable Judi Heaton said: “While this data shows a clear reduction in reports of recent rape and sexual crime during lockdown, it is too early to draw conclusions as to why this might be.
“What we do know is that the vast majority of rape and sexual crime is committed by someone known to the victim.
“More than half of rapes reported to us occur within a relationship, whether that’s during the early stages of dating or in longer term relationships – most of those reports are made by women and girls.”
She added: “Let’s be very clear about this, being in a relationship does not mean an entitlement to sex.
“People in a relationship are entitled to say no to sex and to be heard. The law is very simple, sex without consent is rape.
“We recognise how incredibly challenging it must be for victims of rape within a relationship to proactively reach out and seek help when they are in a lockdown situation with the perpetrator, even where they don’t reside together.
“We want you to know that we are here if you feel able to report and we will always listen.”
Wednesday marked the start of 16 days of action from the charity Rape Crisis Scotland.
Its chief executive Sandy Brindley told the PA news agency: “These figures are not surprising and Police Scotland are right to highlight that an absence of reports does not mean that the crimes were not taking place.
“Lockdown has been incredibly tough for so many people and for survivors it’s posed real challenges in accessing support and – for those who choose to report – going to the police.
“We want every single survivor to know that no matter what happened or when, whether they want to report or not, Rape Crisis support is here.
“Our helpline is open nightly from 6pm to midnight on 08088 01 03 02.”
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