• Sweden's news in English

Online sex 'grooming' law lacks teeth

TT/Tom Sullivan · 24 Jan 2010, 12:38

Published: 24 Jan 2010 12:38 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Since July 1st 2009, any adult in Sweden contacting a child under 15-years of age over the internet with a view to grooming them for sex, can face sentences of up to a year in jail. However the law has been slow to take effect with only a hundred suspected cases reported so far.

"The low number of cases may result from the fact that the law is not that widely known," David Lagerlöf, a spokesperson for ECPAT, an international charity working to stop the sexual exploitation of children, told the TT news agency.

"It can also be a problem for young people to speak about this with adults. Many of them are certainly afraid to tell their parents about dirty old men on the internet in case their reaction is to just pull out the plug."

According to Lagerlöf, many parents have little knowledge of computers and the internet which makes it difficult for them to understand the potential threat from sexual predators.

"In many cases they need to sit down with their children and get a tour though cyberspace to see what their internet world looks like."

An Ungdomsbarometer (‘Youth barometer’) survey earlier this month found that more than half of teenage girls in Sweden have been approached for sexual reasons on the internet. While greater vigilance among parents can help to reduce the threat from online paedophiles, some critics of the new law believe it lacks teeth.

Detective Björn Sellström, at the National Criminal Investigative Department, says that the police do not have the right powers to investigate suspects. Sellström says those found guilty will most likely get off with fines as maximum sentances are rarely issued by Swedish courts.

"The police do not have the power to track internet accounts and IP addresses in cases where the likely outcome is a fine."

Story continues below…

"We are waiting with bated breath for the first convictions. But we are worried that the punishment is too low."

TT/Tom Sullivan (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

13:43 January 24, 2010 by Nemesis
This law needs to be advertised in magazines aimed at teenagers and parents.

ECPAT does good work. I am glad to see them raise this.
18:27 January 24, 2010 by wxman
Of course the new law hasn't netted anyone yet. They can contact children 15 and 16 years old without breaking the law! Raise the age to 17.
04:42 January 25, 2010 by johann2340
Age of consent is 15, so why should the age for contact by internet changed to 17?

A major problem in Sweden are missing parents rights to discipline their children and to teach them to stay away from internet chat-rooms, which are for adults only.

Many children are joining such dating websites and give untrue information about their age in those profiles. It is said generally, that over 80 percent of all such profiles are either a fake or contain otherwise wrong information - How can you verify the age of the person you talk with by online chat?

How can such laws be executed? What shall parents really do, even if they know about computers and internet? They might switch off the computer, but children are not stupid, they meet their friends outside their home and do it again. Computers with internet connection are everywhere.
Today's headlines
Sweden to keep record-low interest rate in 2017
Sweden's landmark negative interest rate will continue towards 2018. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The Swedish central bank said that it will take longer than expected to reach its inflation target.

Presented by Stockholm University
9 unexpected study programmes at Stockholm University
Photo: Niklas Björling

Did you know Stockholm University offers 75 master's programmes taught in English? And some of them are programmes you won't find anywhere else...

Creepy clown messes with the wrong dog walker in Sweden
Not the clown in the story. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A dog helped its owner fight off a creepy clown chasing the pair in southern Sweden.

A million Swedes are digitally excluded: report
How should Sweden bridge the digital divide? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Tech-savvy Swedes? Perhaps not. A new study suggests that at least a million of its residents feel the pain of the digital divide.

Malmö's 19th Swedish title sets Champions hopes alight
Malmö fans celebrating after the match. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Malmö FF have their eyes set on the Champions League after winning the Swedish league for the 19th time.

What's on in Sweden
Five great autumn events in Sweden this week
Jazz in northern Sweden. Photo: Umeå Jazz Festival

Food, music, movies and more food. What better way of helping yourself forget that the days are getting shorter and colder?

Here's how slow Sweden's high-speed trains are getting
A Swedish SJX2000 high speed train. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The high-speed rail journey between the three biggest Swedish cities is about to get longer.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

US election
Donald Trump won't get new Ericsson head's vote
Trump pictured at a campaign rally in Florida. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The new Swedish-American boss of telecoms giant Ericsson has revealed he will not vote for the Republican nominee in the forthcoming US presidential election.

Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world
A file photo of men and women pushing prams in Stockholm. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden has closed 81 percent of its overall gender gap according to the World Economic Forum.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available