SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

How Sweden could bring in tougher sentences for sex offenders

A new government inquiry suggests locking convicted rapists up for at least three years, one year more than Sweden's current two-year minimum.

How Sweden could bring in tougher sentences for sex offenders
An inquiry has found it necessary to strengthen the punishments for sexual violations. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The proposal comes after Sweden’s Social Democrat-Green government in January 2020 appointed a commission to look into stricter laws and sentencing of sexual crimes. Led by court of appeal judge Göran Nilsson, the commission included experts from Lund University, the police and the National Board of Health and Welfare, and it presented its findings and final conclusions earlier this week.

It suggests a series of changes, including that sexual crimes that take place remotely, for example on the internet, should be expanded to include a broader definition of the crime. This would mean, for example, that convincing an underage person to commit sexual acts, film them and send to the perpetrator could be classified not only as sexual exploitation, as today, but as sexual assault or even rape.

Other changes include increasing the minimum rape (våldtäkt) sentence from two years’ imprisonment to three years, and increasing the minimum penalty for rape of a comparably less aggravated nature (våldtäkt som är mindre grov) to at least six months in jail.

The commission further suggests increasing the minimum sentence for sexual assault (sexuellt övergrepp) to six months’ imprisonment, and increasing the minimum sentence for rape of a child (våldtäkt mot barn) from two years in jail to three years in jail.

It also suggests increasing the sentence for buying sex from a fine to imprisonment, for up to a year.

Swedish Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said the government would next put forward a bill to parliament based on the commssion’s report. There is no clear timeframe for when this will happen, but if parliament gives the green light, the changes could come into force on January 1st, 2023.

It is not the first time Sweden aims to step up its rape laws. In 2020, Sweden saw a two-year rise of 75 percent in convictions, a result which rights campaigners hailed as a success for a law change in 2018 that changed the definition of rape to make all non-consensual sex illegal. 

Previously a factor such as threat, force, or the victim having been taken advantage of in a vulnerable situation (such as under the influence of drugs or alcohol) was necessary for a rape classification. Under the new law, both participants need to have actively signalled consent either verbally or otherwise. With this law, Sweden became the tenth country in western Europe to class non-consensual sex as rape.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

MILITARY

Macron urges Turkey to respect Finland, Sweden NATO choice

French President Emmanuel Macron asked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday to "respect the sovereign choice" of Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

Macron urges Turkey to respect Finland, Sweden NATO choice

He was hoping to avoid Ankara vetoing their requests to join the trans-Atlantic defence pact.

Turkey warned Wednesday that the NATO accession process for Sweden and Finland would not move forward unless they addressed Ankara’s security concerns, a reference to their supposed sympathy toward Kurdish militant groups.

“The president underscored the need to respect the sovereign choice of these two countries, which emerged from a democratic process and in reaction to the changes in their security environment,” Macron’s office said after a telephone call with Erdogan.

“He said he hoped the discussions would continue to find a solution quickly,” his office added.

Stockholm and Helsinki submitted their bids to join NATO last week, reversing decades of military non-alignment, after political and public support for membership soared following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But Turkey, a NATO member, is throwing a spanner in the works as any membership must be unanimously approved by all alliance members.

Ankara accuses Stockholm in particular of providing a haven for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terror group by Turkey and its Western allies.

Erdogan is also weighing a new military operation in northern Syria aimed at crushing Syrian Kurdish fighters who assisted the US-led campaign against the Islamic State group.

Such an incursion risks creating new tensions between Ankara and other NATO members, with the US warning this week that its soldiers could be put in jeopardy.

During the call between Erdogan and Macron, the two leaders agreed to continue efforts to restart Ukraine grain exports now that Russian forces control most of the country’s ports, in order to avoid food shortages that threaten several developing countries.

But the Kremlin denied Monday any blame for the halted grain deliveries, and accused Western countries of preventing cargo vessels from leaving Ukrainian ports.

SHOW COMMENTS