THERE'S been a "truly horrifying" year-on-year rise in the number of sexual assaults and rapes on females in Fife.

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said there was a near 40 per cent increase – from 266 crimes in 2020-21 to 372 in 2021-22 – in the Kingdom and backed a proposal for a Victim’s Law.

He represents Mid Scotland and Fife and said: “These figures are truly horrifying.

“It is absolutely shocking that an even greater number of women suffered these appalling attacks over the last year, than compared to the previous one.

"Every single one of these cases in Fife is one too many.

“All too often women in Fife are left without a voice in our justice system under the SNP."

In all but one of Scotland’s policing divisions, the number of sexual assaults and rapes on women over the age of 16 has increased in the past 12 months.

Mr Fraser said Jamie Greene’s proposed Victim’s Law will help women have a voice in court.

He added: "Furthermore, the SNP’s attitude means many of these criminals don’t suffer tough punishment for these appalling crimes.

"That is why I am backing my colleague Jamie Greene’s plans for a Victim’s Law which would go a long way to support women in Fife.

"It will give victims the power to make statements in court.

“If SNP ministers are serious about reducing the number of sexual assaults and rape in Fife then they would urgently back plans for a Victim’s Law.”

However, ministers said they were yet to see the details of any proposals as a bill promised by the Conservatives had not been lodged.

A spokesperson for Keith Brown, the cabinet secretary for justice and veterans, said: “The Scottish Government recognises that the justice system can be distressing and re-traumatising for those who come into contact with it and we are committed to improving victims’ experiences wherever possible.

"Our current consultation invites views on proposed reforms to improve the experiences and strengthen the rights of victims of crime, with a particular focus on sexual offences.

“In Scotland we have laws to tackle sexual violence, stalking, threatening or abusive behaviour, non-consensual sharing of images and domestic abuse.

"We also have the Victims Code which clearly sets out the rights of victims of crime and how to exercise these rights.

“Earlier this year, Baroness Kennedy’s working group published its report on misogyny and the criminal law, which made a number of recommendations for reform to the criminal law.

"The Scottish Government has committed to consult on draft provisions to implement those recommendations."

The spokesperson added: “We were told by the Tories that a Victims Bill would be brought forward within the first 100 days of this parliament, yet more than a year later, no bill has been lodged.

"Once laid in parliament, we will consider the details of any legislative proposals carefully.”

The consultation on improving victims' experiences of the justice system closes on 5 August.

After the crime figures for 2021-22 were published last month, Chief Superintendent Derek McEwan, the divisional commander for Fife, acknowledged: "We have seen an increase in sexual crimes, however, this can be attributed to the increased confidence of victims to report offences to our officers and to those we work in partnership with."