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Swedish government orders investigation into rise in reported rapes

Sweden's government has ordered the country's National Council on Crime Prevention (Brå) to look into why the number of reported rapes in the country has increased.

Swedish government orders investigation into rise in reported rapes
File photo: Johan Nilsson / TT

The agency has the task of finding out whether the increase related to specific types of sexual offences, certain situations, or certain groups of perpetrators, though exactly how it measures these factors will be up to Brå.

The number of sexual offences reported to police in Sweden has risen steadily over recent decades.

In some cases, this could be due to the way in which sexual crimes are reported in Sweden or an increase in awareness about this kind of crime meaning more victims feel able to come forward.

However, it is unlikely that this is the full explanation for the rise, since the past four years have also seen an overall increase in exposure to sexual offences, according to the Swedish Crime Survey, also carried out by Brå. This report is based on survey answers rather than police reports, and aims to give a more complete picture of the victimization rate.

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As The Local reported at the time, the 2017 survey published in November showed that the proportion of the population who had been victims of what is classed as 'crime against an individual' – assault, threats, mugging, fraud, harassment, or sexual assault – was at its highest level since records began in 2006.

The most significant rise was reported in instances of sexual offences, with the victimization rate for such crimes going from 0.8 to 2.4 percent between 2012 and 2016. That equates to around 181,000 people, an all-time high. Among women, the rate is even higher, at 4.1 percent.

In this survey, sexual offences covered a wide range of crimes from exhibitionism to assault.

At the time, Åsa Strid from Brå told The Local: “These results raise a number of questions about why so many more people are reporting that they have experienced sexual offences.”

The government has now called on Brå to estimate “to the greatest extent possible” how the victimization rate has developed.

This will include analysis of whether certain types of sexual crime are behind the rise, and whether the rise relates to a particular group of perpetrators. 

It is not clear whether this would include an investigation of the ethnicity of perpetrators of sexual crimes, something which Sweden’s Moderate Party has called for. 

Brå’s press secretary, Monica Landergård, told the TT news agency: “The assignment has just arrived, so we are working on it and will see who will carry out the work, so it’s much too early to say.”

READ ALSO: No, Sweden is NOT the 'rape capital' of the world

ALMEDALEN 2022

Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden. 

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