Swedish rape stats rise

TT/Claudia Rodas
TT/Claudia Rodas - [email protected] • 16 Jun, 2008 Updated Mon 16 Jun 2008 14:50 CEST

The number of reported rapes in Sweden has risen sharply in the last ten years, according to a new survey by Brå, the Swedish national council for crime prevention.


The report highlights other interesting statistics about the changing face of rape crime in Sweden.

Victims and rapists are less likely to know each other well and there have been less so-called random attack rapes in the last ten years.

The number of reported rapes on people over the age of 15 years has doubled since ten years ago. Around 3,500 rapes were reported in 2007.

According to the crime prevention council, rapes reported most occurred between people of no or little acquaintance. This type of rape has risen by 10 percent between 1996 and 2006.

"Rape is one of the most violating crimes against a person. The last decade has seen strong opinions voiced against men's violence towards women, and the law regarding sexual offences has been reworked several times.

"A change in the law also means that many more of the more minor sexual assaults are now considered a crime and are being reported. As a result, more rapes are reported, which is positive", said Jan Andersson, director general of Brå in a statement.

The law was changed in 2005 so that criminal actions that had once been classified as sexual assault or sexual abuse are now judged as rape. This also goes some way toward explaining the rise in rape statistics.

Reported rapes where the parties concerned don't know each other often occur in a private home which doesn't belong to either victim or rapist. The growing prevalence of this type of rape is not only due to an increase in reported rapes, but also to a change in people's lifestyles.

According to Klara Hradilova Selin of Brå, it should also be taken into account that "a more active night life and a flurry of internet dating websites enable contacts, often for purely sexual reasons".

The number of random rape attacks by a stranger has diminished to just one in ten. And whilst fewer people are seriously injured during rape, more victims seek medical care afterwards.

The stats for rapes between people in a close relation has diminished by 12 percent and make up 17 percent of all reported rapes. However, these type of rapes are usually not reported because the victims are often in an abusive relationship and do not dare to report the crime.

There has been a rise in the number of rapes with several perpetrators, but according to Brå, this is not synonymous with so-called 'gang-bangs'.

Brå's definition of group rape assumes that several people are involved, but not necessarily all at the same time or that everyone in the group has committed rape. For example, one person might have been the victim of several assaults in one evening.

"The greatest rise of this type of rape has taken place between 2004 and 2006 and this could be explained by the new legislation which now categorizes minor assaults as rape too", says Klara Hradilova Selin of Brå.

Brå maintains that the crime of rape is particularly difficult to assess and analyze. Most sex crimes are never discovered because victims feel so violated that they do not dare to report the crime to the police, friends or family.

Brå's study took a random selection of reported rapes from between the years 2004 and 2006 and compared the data to material from Brå's earlier study for the years between 1995 and 2000.


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