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Rape and sexual offences

In 2014, 20,300 sexual offences were reported in Sweden. 6,700 of these offences were classed as rape. In the Swedish Crime Survey, 1.3 per cent reported that they were the victim of a sexual offence in 2013.

Exposure to sexual offences

Percentage of the population (between 16–79 years of age) exposed to sexual offences, 2005–2013. Source: The Swedish Crime Survey 2014.

Results from the Swedish Crime Survey 2014

In 2013 the percentage of people reporting that they were the victim of sexual offences was 1.3 per cent. This is an increase compared to 2012, when the percentage was 0.8 per cent, a level which is essentially unchanged since 2005.

Exposure to sexual threats is significantly more common among women than among men, and is most common in the 16–19 and 20–24 age brackets. The most common crime scene is a public place, with the perpetrator being unknown to the victim.

The Swedish Crime Survey

Reported sexual offences

Number of reported sexual offences, 2005-2014. Source: Reported offences

Reported offences

The number of reported sexual offences has increased in Sweden over the last decade. The increase can partially be explained by the new sexual offences legislation that came into force in 2005, which meant that some actions that were previously classed as sexual exploitation are now classed as rape. The changes in the legislation resulted in a decrease in reported sexual coercion and exploitation, whereas the number of reported rapes have increased. As of July 1, 2013, further changes were made to the legislation in order to broaden the term rape to also include cases where the victim reacted with passivity.

There is reason to believe that certain types of sexual offence really have increased over the last thirty years, much due to changes in society, such as contact with strangers via the internet, more bars and pubs and increased alcohol consumption. But the increase is mainly due to a general rise in people's tendency to report crime and the changes in legislation that have led to more crimes now being viewed as rape.

Statistics over reported offences in Sweden

Difficult to make international comparisons

Comparisons between countries that are based on their individual crime statistics require caution since such statistics are produced differently in different countries. Criminal statistics do not provide a simple reflection of the level of crime in a given country. Criminal statistics are influenced by both legal and statistical factors, and by the extent to which crime is reported and registered. These factors can vary from one country to another. There are no international standards for how crime statistics should be produced and presented and this makes international comparisons difficult.

Comparisons between countries


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