Top Social Democrats talk tough on rape

Punishments for the most serious rape crimes must be increased, former justice minister Thomas Bodström and former equality ombudsman Claes Borgström have urged.

Top Social Democrats talk tough on rape

Bodström and Borgström, who share a legal practice, argue in a debate article in the Svenska Dagbladet daily on Friday that a new classification for rape crimes needs to come into force.

“Society must take a clearer stance against the most serious abuses involving women and girls. With this in mind, we want to introduce a new criminal classification – especially aggravated rape – which would carry a prison sentence of between six and ten years,” the leading Social Democrats write.

The pair note that while the centre-right government has proposed an equivalent tightening of legislation with regard to violent crimes they have omitted to include sexual offences.

“Since it is almost exclusively women who are affected, we believe this is an important gender issue.”

Bodström and Borgström also propose a tightening of punishments for paying for sex, admitting that legislation outlawing the practice during the Social Democrat tenure has proved insufficient to address the problem.

They propose, for example, elevating the classification of pimping to human trafficking to underline the severity of the crime and increase its penalty. They also propose raising the custodial penalty for paying for sex from six months to twelve months.

Furthermore, “victims of the purchase of sex” should be entitled to receive compensation, among a raft of other measures proposed.

“These changes would provide substantially better protection of girls and women in Sweden. Efforts to strengthen their rights, protection and integrity should never cease, but must be developed; almost four years have now been lost in the struggle against sex crimes,” Bodström and Borgström argue.

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