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Stalking becomes a criminal offence

Stalking, or repeated harassment, becomes a criminal offence in Sweden from October 1st, and will carry a sentence of up to four years in prison if found guilty.

Stalking becomes a criminal offence

”As the seriousness of the crime is increased, the crime will receive a higher priority. It will be easier to charge perpetrators and get them remanded into custody,” said Inka Wennerberg, senior administrative officer and crime victim expert, at the National Police Board (Riskspolisstyrelsen) to news agency TT.

Until this weekend it has only been possible for victims of stalkers to report each incident as a separate threat or assault. But now repeated harassment becomes its own offence under the charge unlawful persecution (olaglig förföljelse).

One in ten Swedes has experienced some form of stalking in their life. The majority of those affected are women, according to figures from a 2006 study conducted by Sweden’s National Council on Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet – Brå).

According to Brå, the victim is acquainted with the perpetrator in the majority of cases but in a third of all incidents the stalker is an unknown person.

In those cases people who are exposed in the media or have certain professions, like prosecutor or psychiatrist, are most vulnerable.

Swedish women’s shelters often encounter individuals who are being persecuted, almost always by former partners.

According to Olga Persson, secretary general for the Swedish Association of Women’s Shelters and Young Women’s Empowerment Centres (Sveriges Kvinno-och tjejjourers riksförbund – SKR) the threats that women receive today are different from before.

”The crime has changed over time. Women are being followed through text messages and Facebook. They get emails and repeated contacts like: ‘I know where you are’. You are being watched on so many levels,” she said to TT.

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HARASSMENT

Swedish TV host pulls out of Christmas show after sexual harassment allegations

One of Sweden’s most well-known TV hosts has decided to pull out of an upcoming Christmas show after being accused of sexually harassing a former intern.

Swedish TV host pulls out of Christmas show after sexual harassment allegations
Lasse Kronér is the host of popular Swedish TV shows such as ‘Doobidoo’. Photo: Leif R Jansson / TT

Lasse Kronér, known from popular Swedish TV shows like “Doobidoo”, on Thursday announced he was canceling his appearance in an upcoming Christmas show in Gothenburg after being accused by a former intern of sending her inappropriate text messages.

The allegations come in the aftermath of the worldwide #MeToo campaign which was started in response to the allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of raping, harassing, and assaulting multiple women over a period of several years, including a number of well-known actresses.

In Sweden, the campaign has led to multiple investigations into high-profile figures accused of harassment, including Martin Timell, one of the country's best-known TV presenters, as well as high-profile journalist Fredrik Virtanen at the Aftonbladet newspaper.

On Thursday, the organizers of the November 24th – December 16th Christmas show “Jul för sjutton” issued a statement, saying Kronér was canceling his appearance due to the recent media attention surrounding his person.

The statement included an explanation from Kronér himself.

“Taking into account what has happened in the past few days, I want to take a time-out,” Kronér said. “I need to reflect and focus on the situation I have now involuntarily found myself in. It’s not an easy decision, but necessary for me, and to be able to give my music colleagues the space they need.”

At the end of October, a former intern with a Swedish broadcaster filed a police report, accusing Kronér of having sent her hundreds of explicit text messages in which he allegedly asked her if she wanted to have sex with him and if she wanted nude pictures of him. The woman, who was 22 at the time but who is now 28, notified the SVT management of the incidents and Kronér was then given a formal warning and apologized to the woman for his behaviour.

Kronér has rejected the woman’s description of the events, saying that the two even became a couple after they had finished working together.

“When we met about a year later we became a couple and had a relationship for about a year,” he was quoted as telling Swedish tabloid Expressen.

According to the woman, the two developed a friendship, which occasionally became “sexually destructive”, but she insists they were never a couple.