Rape and sexual offences

During 2018, 22,500 sex offences were reported, of which 7,960 were classified as rape. In the Swedish Crime Survey, 6.4 per cent of the of the respondents stated that they were a victim of sexual offences in 2017. Please note that the statistics here refer to both sexual offences as a broader term, including sexual molestation etc., as well as rape as a specific offence.

Percentage exposed to sex offences

Exposure in the population (16–84 years of age) to sex offences, 2006 – 2017. The results regarding victimisation 2006–2015 are recalculated since the SCS was then carried out with another method. Read more about this in the 2018 SCS, technical report (Brå 2019). For the corresponding results before the recalculation, see previous SCS publications. Source: NTU

In the Swedish Crime Survey (Nationella trygghetsundersökningen - NTU), 6.4 per cent of the population (aged 16–84) state that they were a victim of sexual offences in 2017.

This is an increase compared with 2016, when 4.7 per cent had been victims. Sexual offences remained at a relatively stable level for the period 2006–2012 with an increase occurring thereafter, an increase that has been particularly evident since 2015.

Women were victims of sexual offences significantly more often than men and there are large differences between different age groups. Among both women and men, the proportion was highest in the age group 20–24 years, where 35.8 per cent of women compared with 4.7 per cent of men stated that they were victims of sexual offences in 2017.

Gender

Victims of sexual offences. Percentage for each gender, 2006–2017. The results regarding victimisation 2006–2015 are recalculated since the SCS was then carried out with another method. Read more about this in the 2018 SCS, technical report (Brå 2019). For the corresponding results before the recalculation, see previous SCS publications. Source: NTU

Concern about rape/sexual assault

The percentage of people who, in 2018, often are concerned about being a victim of rape or another type of sexual assault is 12 per cent of the population (aged 16–84), which is approximately the same level as 2017 (11 %).

It is significantly more common that women are concerned about being a victim of rape or another type of sexual assault than men. While among men, there is almost no difference between different age brackets (1–3 %), the differences between age brackets among women are signifi-cantly greater. In the 20–24 age bracket 47 per cent of the women state that they are often concerned about being a victim of rape or another type of sexual assault, whilst the corresponding percentage in the 75–84 age bracket is 4 per cent.

Reported sex offences

Number of reported sex offences 2009-2018: all reported offences, of which sexual molestation, rape (including aggravated), and sexual coercion, exploitation, etc. Source: Reported offences

Reported offences

In 2018, a total of 22,500 sex offences were reported; this is a 2 per cent increase as compared with 2017. The number of rapes reported to police increased by 8 per cent to 7,960 between 2017 and 2018.

The number of reported rape offences has increased by 34 per cent over the last ten years (2009-2018). The increase can be partially explained by changes in the legislation, as from 1 July 2013, the sex offence legislation was made tougher; among other things rape was expanded to include cases where the victim reacts passively.

Other, far-reaching changes in the legislation were made on 1 April 2005. This legislation entails, among other things, that certain acts which were previously classified as sexual exploitation are now classified as rape. The effect of the statutory change appeared in the statistics such that the number of reported offences in respect of sexual coercion and exploitation declined in the years immediately following the statutory change while the number of reported rapes increased.

In the Swedish system, individual reports regarding a great number of offences may affect and give rise to variations in the statistic. For instance, when a single case is reported that turns out to involve hundreds or even thousands of instances of offences committed against an individual over the course of many years, every single incident is recorded as an offence in the year it was reported. It is also important to remember that non-reporting is particularly extensive for sex offences and changes in the inclination to report can affect the number of rapes in the statistic.     

International comparisons

There are no international standards for how crime statistics should be produced and presented and this makes international comparisons difficult. Keep in mind that comparisons between countries on the basis of 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.                

Cleared rapes

Person-based clearance rate² for rape offences. Source: Processed offences

Processed offences

In 2018, 7,920 rape offences were processed, the same level as the previous year¹. Investigations were commenced for 95 per cent of the processed rape offences, while 5 per cent were dismissed with no investigation. The person-based clearance rate² for rape offences in 2018 was 17 per cent.

The conviction rate² was 17 per cent for 2018. Since investigations were commenced for most processed rape offences, the conviction and person-based clearance rates are essentially at the same level.

Persons suspected of rape

All persons suspected of rape, 2009 – 2018. Source: Persons suspected of offences

Persons suspected of offences

In 2018, 43 persons per 100,000 population were suspected of rape, which is an increase of 9 per cent compared with the previous year. Since 2009, the number per 100,000 population has increased with 20 suspects, or 20 per cent.

Persons found guilty of sex offences

Number of conviction decisions of sex offences as the primary offence, 2009 – 2018.  Source: Persons found guilty of offences

Convictions

There were 1,370 conviction decisions³ in 2018 in respect of sex offences, corresponding to a decrease by 18 per cent, as compared with 2017. The number of conviction decisions for sex offences has increased by 26 per cent as compared with 2009.

 


¹) The statistic for processed offences reports the number of reported offences where the police, public prosecutor, or other investigatory authority has taken a decision regarding the offence.

²) Person-based clearance means that a person suspected of the offence has been tied to the offence through an indictment, the issuance of a summary sanction order, or the issuance of a waiver of prosecution. The person-based clearance rate reports the number of offences with person-based clearances during one year as a percentage of the number of processed offences during the same year. As from 2014, an adjusted person-based clearance rate is reported. The metric is essentially structured in the same way as previously, however, it is calculated based on all processed offences instead of all reported offences. The conviction rate reports the number of person-based clearances during one year as a per cent of all investigated offences, excluding offences with limitations of investigation during the same period.

³) The statistic regarding persons found guilty of offences reports the number of convictions which were issued during the year. "Conviction decision" means a conviction in a district court or decision of a public prosecutor, such as a summary sanction order or waiver of prosecution, during one calendar year. A single individual may be found guilty of an offence in different ways and on several occasions during one year. A conviction decision may contain decisions regarding several offences and several sanctions.