Murder and manslaughter

Murder, manslaughter, and assault with a lethal outcome are usually jointly designated lethal violence. In 2020, 124 cases of lethal violence were confirmed in Sweden. The average of lethal violence for the last ten years is 100 cases per year

Lethal violence

Confirmed cases of lethal violence, of which lethal violence against men or women¹. (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 2020, 124 cases of lethal violence were confirmed in Sweden. This can be seen from the statistic regarding confirmed cases of lethal violence. This is an increase by 13 cases, as compared with 2019.

Since 2002, when Brå started producing the statistics, the level of confirmed cases of lethal violence has fluctuated between 68 and 124 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 six years (2015-2020), the number of cases has remained at a higher level than previous years, thereby breaking the downward trend.

Gender

In 2020, the victim was a woman in 25 cases (20 per cent) and a man in 99 cases (80 per cent). Compared to 2019, the number of female victims was the same in 2020, while the number of male victims increased by 13 cases.

In relation to the population, the number of confirmed cases of lethal violence was 1.20 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020, a slight higher level than 2019 (1.08). For women, the figure was the same for both years (0.49 female victims per 100,000 female inhabitants), whilst it increased for men in 2020 compared to 2019 (from 1.66 to 1.90 male victims per 100,000 male inhabitants).

Against someone in close relationship (partner or ex-partner)

In 17 cases of the confirmed cases of lethal violence in 2020, victims and perpetrators were related by a close relationship (partner or ex-partner), which accounted for 14 per cent of all cases of lethal violence. In 2019, the corresponding number was 18 cases (16%).

The number of cases of lethal violence against women in a close relationship in 2020 amounted to 13 cases, which equals to 52 per cent of all cases of lethal violence with female victims during the year. The corresponding number for male victims in 2020 was 4 cases (4%).

Use of firearms

In 2020, firearms were used in 48 of the observed cases of lethal violence, 3 more than in 2019, which corresponded to 39 percent of all observed cases of lethal violence in 2020. Despite an increased number of cases in 2020, the proportion was slightly lower compared to 2019 (41%), which is due to the fact that the number of cases of lethal violence without using firearms increased to a greater extent (from 66 cases in 2019 to 76 cases in 2020).

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 almost tripled, from 17 to 48 cases.

In the cases where a firearm was used 2020, the victim was a man in 85 per cent of the cases (41 cases), and in the other 7 cases the victim was a woman. The gender ratio for male victims in the cases where a firearm was used has been pending between 82 to 98 per cent with an average of 91 per cent during the period 2011-2020.

Regional breakdown

At the regional level, there were some changes in the number of observed cases of lethal violence in 2020 compared with 2019. The largest change was in the Stockholm region (+11 cases), followed by the Öst region (+6 cases) and the Mitt region (-5 cases). For the other regions, the changes were in the range of 0–3 cases in each region.

The majority (85 cases, corresponded to 69 per cent) of the confirmed cases of lethal violence in 2020 were reported in one of the major metropolitan regions of Stockholm, Väst and Syd. This level has fluctuated between 64 and 75 per cent during the years 2010-2020.

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