Murder and manslaughter

Murder, manslaughter, and assault with a lethal outcome are usually jointly designated lethal violence. In 2018, 108 cases of lethal violence were confirmed in Sweden. Since 2002, the level of confirmed cases of lethal violence has varied between 68 and 113 cases per year.

Lethal violence

Confirmed cases of lethal violence, of which lethal violence against men or women¹, 2002 – 2018. (Reported cases of lethal violence where lethal violence is highly likely to be the cause of death). Source: Confirmed cases of lethal violence (Brå)

1.) Gender breakdown is reported for the confirmed cases of lethal violence since 2011. In one of the cases in 2012, the victim's gender could not be established.

In 2018, 108 cases of lethal violence were confirmed in Sweden. This can be seen from the statistic regarding confirmed cases of lethal violence. This is a decrease by 5 cases, as compared with 2017. Since 2002, the level of confirmed cases of lethal violence has varied between 68 and 113 cases per year.

In 2018, the victim was a woman in 33 cases (31 per cent) and a man in 75 cases (69 per cent). As compared with 2017, the share of women has increased by 7 percentage points. Meanwhile, the share of men has decreased by 7 percentage points.

Since 2002, when Brå started producing the statistics, the level of confirmed cases of lethal violence has fluctuated between 68 and 113 cases. Up until 2014, the development of the number of cases was marked by an overall downward trend with relatively large variations from year to year. In the last three years (2015-2017), the number of cases has remained at a higher level than previous years, thereby breaking the downward trend.

In relation to the population, the number of confirmed cases of lethal violence was 1.06 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2018, a lower level than in 2017 (1.12). The number of women increased from 0.54 to 0.65, whilst the number of men decreased from 1.70 to 1.47 (number of victims per 100,000 inhabitants).

Use of firearms

A firearm was used in 40 per cent of the observed cases of lethal violence in 2018; this is a higher percentage than in 2017 (35 %). This equals an increase by 7 percentage points, (from 40 to 43 cases). Since 2011, when the use of firearms was first introduced in the statistics, the number of cases of lethal violence with the use of a firearm has more than doubled, from 17 to 43 cases.

In the cases where a firearm was used, the victim was a man in 98 per cent of the cases (42 cases), and only in 1 case was the victim a woman. The gender ratio for victims in the cases where a firearm was used has remained at the same level during the period 2011-2017.

Lethal violence against partner or ex-partner

In 26 cases of the confirmed cases of lethal violence in 2018, victims and perpetrators were related by a close relationship (partner or ex-partner), which accounted for nearly a quarter (24%) of all cases of lethal violence. In 2017, the corresponding number was 11 cases (10%).

The number of cases of lethal violence against women in a close relationship in 2018 amounted to 22 cases, which corresponded to 67 per cent of all cases of lethal violence with female victims during the year. The corresponding number for male victims was 4 cases in 2018, which constituted 5 per cent of all cases of fatal violence against men.

Regional breakdown

The majority (70 %) of the confirmed cases of lethal violence in 2018 were reported in one of the major metropolitan regions of Stockholm, Väst and Syd. This level has fluctuated between 68 and 75 per cent during the years 2010-2017. The number increased in the Syd region and the Väst region, from 17 to 24 cases (+ 7 cases) and from 18 to 24 cases (+ 6 cases) respectively. The most significant decrease is seen in the Stockholm region, where the numbers decreased almost by half, from 50 to 28 cases (−22 cases).

2) The figures above come from Brå's special study of lethal violence which only includes reported cases of lethal violence where lethal violence is highly likely to be the cause of death. This is because the statistic regarding reported offences is misleading where lethal violence is concerned, since it shows all reported incidents with a lethal outcome where there initially was reason to investigate whether lethal violence may have been used. Following investigation, many of these incidents are seen to involve something other than lethal violence, for example suicide, accident, or natural death. It also occurs that several police reports are prepared for a single case of suspected lethal violence, which means that the statistic contains repeats. Moreover, attempts, preparation, and conspiracy to commit murder or manslaughter are erroneously registered as completed murder or manslaughter