Murder and manslaughter

Murder, manslaughter, and assault with a lethal outcome are usually jointly designated lethal violence. In 2019, 111 cases of lethal violence were confirmed in Sweden. The average of lethal violence for the last ten years is 96 cases per year.

Lethal violence

Confirmed cases of lethal violence, of which lethal violence against men or women¹, 2002 – 2019. (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 2019, 111 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 3 cases, as compared with 2018.

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 five years (2015-2019), the number of cases has remained at a higher level than previous years, thereby breaking the downward trend.

Gender

In 2019, the victim was a woman in 25 cases (23 per cent) and a man in 86 cases (77 per cent). As compared with 2018, the share of women has decreased by 8 cases. Meanwhile, the share of men has increased by 11 cases.

In relation to the population, the number of confirmed cases of lethal violence was 1.08 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2019, a slightly higher level than in 2018 (1.06). The number of women decreased from 0.65 to 0.49, whilst the number of men increased from 1.47 to 1.66 (number of victims per 100,000 inhabitants).

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

In 18 cases of the confirmed cases of lethal violence in 2019, victims and perpetrators were related by a close relationship (partner or ex-partner), which accounted for 16 per cent of all cases of lethal violence. In 2018, the corresponding number was 26 cases (24%).

The number of cases of lethal violence against women in a close relationship in 2019 amounted to 16 cases, which corresponded to 64 per cent of all cases of lethal violence with female victims during the year. The corresponding number for male victims was 2 cases in 2019, which constituted 2 per cent of all cases of lethal violence against men.

Use of firearms

A firearm was used in 41 per cent of the observed cases of lethal violence in 2019; which was slightly higher than in 2018 (40 %). This equals an increase by 2 cases between the two years (from 43 to 45). 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 45 cases.

In the cases where a firearm was used in 2019, the victim was a man in 89 per cent of the cases (40 cases), and in the other 5 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 90 per cent during the period 2011-2019.

Regional breakdown

The majority (64 %) of the confirmed cases of lethal violence in 2019 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 2010-2019. The Stockholm region increased its number with 6 cases (from 28 to 34 cases), as both Väst region and Syd region decreased (the former from 24 to 18 cases and the latter from 24 to 19 cases).

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