Final report on the Swedish national Campaign actions within the framework of the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, Including domestic violence

The Swedish contribution within the framework of the Council of Europe Campaign is a national action plan to combat men’s violence against women, violence and oppression in the name of honor and violence in same-sex relationships. The action plan was adopted in November 2007 and function as a presentation of measures that the government will implement during the mandate period. The measures will be developed and specified during the mandate period. The plan contains 56 measures in the following six areas:
• Increased protection and support to victims of violence,
• greater emphasis on preventive work,
• higher standards and greater efficiency in the judicial system,
• better measures targeting violent offenders,
• increased cooperation and coordination and
• enhanced knowledge and competence.

The Government is allocating a total of more than 80 million euro (SEK 800 million) to implement these measures. Henceforth an account of some of these measures will be presented briefly in compliance with the thematic areas of the Campaign Blueprint. The measures are numbered from their place in the action plan.

1. Legal and policy measures

2. Support and protection for victims

A large number of measures in the action plan aim at improving the support and protection for victims of violence. The work and the cooperation between, inter alia, the social services, the judiciary and the health care is crucial for an adequate support and protection for battered women and their children. Therefore the government focus on improving and supporting the work of these actors and also NGO’s working in this field. The work to prevent offenders to use violence is also important in the strive to end violence against women, and measures are taken to strengthen this work. Some examples of these measures:

3. Data collection

Two basic sources of statistical information are being used in Sweden when discussing violence against women. The first source comprises incidents reported to the police. Different crime codes make it, for instance in respect of assault, possible to identify offences that have been committed by a person acquainted with the woman. The crime report system is continuously being developed and refined and will in a new system - STUK - be based on structured information on crime. The aim of the project is to develop a common and uniform framework to collect and structure information about crimes within the whole judiciary. In 2012 STUK will replace the crime report system used today.

The other source of information when discussing violence against women comes from national surveys. Statistics Sweden has conducted annual surveys of living conditions since 1978. These surveys have included a number of questions relating to crime victimisation, including violence. From the year 2008 the questions concerning violence will be extended so that more detailed information about the circumstances can be derived.

Since 2006 the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention conducts a large-scale victimisation survey each year that also covers violence against women. An advantage of this survey is the possibility to relate victimisation data to offences reported to the police.

However, these data also have their limitations, since they are dependent on the willingness of people to respond to questionnaires or questions from these authorities.

4. Awareness raising

One of the tasks of the NCK is to disseminate knowledge and information about men’s violence against women, to provide training on this subject, not least to health care staff and other staff categories, to monitor, compile and disseminate research findings and to analyse the need for further research in this area, to conduct research associated with clinical activities, and to act as a source of support for government agencies and organisations on issues relating to men’s violence against women. In 2007 the NCK started a national telephone support line for women who have been subjected to threats and violence. The help line is free of charge and is open 24/7.

Enclosure to Final report - Indicators

1. Is any and every act of violence against women criminalised in your country ?


In Chapter 3 (on crimes against life and health) and Chapter 4 (on crimes against liberty and peace) in the Swedish Penal Code inter alia murder, assault, gross violation of a woman’s integrity, unlawful coercion and unlawful threat are criminalised and in Chapter 6 (on sexual crimes) inter alia rape and sexual coercion are criminalised.

2. Is violence committed by a partner or former partner punished more severely than violence among strangers (e.g. gender based violence as such or the abuse of power will be considered an aggravating circumstance)?


When assessing the penal value, aggravating circumstances in Chapter 29 section 2 in the Penal Code shall be given special consideration, in addition to what is applicable to each and every type of crime. The following circumstances are the most important and used once when it comes to domestic violence;
- whether the accused manifested especial ruthlessness
- whether the accused exploited some other person’s vulnerable position or that person’s special difficulties in protecting himself or
- whether the crime was devoted to damage the security and trust by a child in its relation to a closely related person.

Furthermore there is, since the special penal provision gross violation of a woman’s integrity entered into force in 1998, a possibility to significantly raise the penalty for systematic violence against women by a partner or former partner.

3. Are victims enabled to seek justice in a human manner (e.g. specialized courts on domestic violence, specialized units within the police, the public prosecutor or the judiciary)?


Within the Swedish Prosecution Authority there are special teams and specialists working with violence in close relationships, including sexual crimes against women and children. Also within the police there are, so called family violence units and specialized competence to handle investigations into this type of crimes.

4. Does national emergency 24/7 help-line exist free of charge for victims of domestic violence in your country?

YES (For more detailed information, see the answer in the Final report on the Swedish national Campaign actions, thematic area 4 Awareness raising).

5. Have safe shelters been set up for victims of domestic violence in an adequate ratio in your country member state?


There is no available information on the number places in each safe shelter, nation wide, and therefore it is not possible to calculate if Sweden reach the ratio of the Blueprint. However, there is approximately 160 women shelters in Sweden (both NGO-shelters and shelters managed by the municipalities) and about 110 crime victim shelters (managed by NGOs).

Sweden is divided into 290 municipalities, all with their own self-governing local authorities. The municipalities have the ultimate responsibility to ensure that everyone living in their municipality receives the help and support they need. The social welfare committee in each municipality, has a responsibility to consider in particular that women subjected to violence and children who have witnessed violence may need support and assistance.

The number of shelters differs from different municipalities, as does the need for them. If a woman is in need of shelter, it is the obligation of "her" municipality to arrange this. The shelter might be placed within the municipality itself, or in a neighboring/another municipality (sometimes this might be safer, if the woman's municipality is small and the offender also lives there).

6. Is administrative data being collected on victims of domestic violence?

YES (For more detailed information, see the answer in the Final report on the Swedish national Campaign actions, thematic area 3 Data collection.)

7. Is domestic violence considered as a human rights violation to be addressed in your legal system?


Domestic violence is addressed in the Swedish legal system, however in the Swedish standpoint, a human rights violation is a violation committed by the state and therefore the only time domestic violence becomes a human rights violation is when the state neglects to enact laws to prevent it.