is criminalized in Sweden. Legislation in the 1980s removed the possibility of a woman withdrawing an allegation of violence once made, in order to counter threats to women who lodged complaints.
In 1998, the offence of “gross violation of integrity” was introduced into the Penal Code. Under this provision, anyone inflicting repeated violence against a current or former intimate partner, in a way that severely damages the victim’s self-confidence, is liable to between six months’ and six years’ imprisonment.
The Act on Restraining Orders allows a woman at risk to obtain a court order prohibiting a potential perpetrator from approaching or otherwise contacting her. Given special circumstances indicating a clear risk to the victim, the order may be applied against a cohabiting partner or spouse, who will then be prevented from entering the shared home.
In certain cases, authorities help victims protect their identities or obtain new identities and homes.
A special provision of the Aliens Act allows a woman whose residence status is tied to her Swedish partner or spouse to obtain a residence permit in cases where the relationship ended due to substantial violence by the partner against her or her children.
The Swedish Government provides funding on an annual basis for women’s shelters and organisations working to prevent violence against women. The Government also supports crisis centres where men who have problems with aggressive or violent behaviour may receive professional counselling.
According to a 2007 report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, many shelters in Sweden have to operate under severe budget constraints, because a large number of municipalities fail to fund the non-governmental institutions they use in order to fulfill their own legal responsibilities to provide shelters.
According to the Special Rapporteur, women who are immigrants, asylum-seekers, or from refugee backgrounds are especially vulnerable to domestic violence. They may face obstacles to seeking remedies due to a lack of familiarity with the Swedish language, institutions, and law, coupled with a general distrust of State authorities
In 2014, a legislative change required Sweden to accede to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
In Sweden, Men for Gender Equality involves men and boys in violence prevention, focusing on shifting social norms and masculinities. It does so through advocacy, networking, public-awareness and training, as well as through developing and delivering services and programmes targeted at men and boys. A new prevention programme called Freedom from Violence was established in 2010. 
is criminalized in Sweden under Chapter 6 of the Penal Code, and in 1962, Sweden became one of the first countries in the world to declare rape within marriage a crime. Prison terms for rape depend on the severity of the crime. Rape is generally punishable by two to six years’ imprisonment, but the sentence may be lower for “less aggravated” cases and higher (up to ten years’ imprisonment) for aggravated cases. “Sexual coercion,” defined as cases in which the violence or force used or the sexual act was not considered serious enough to constitute rape, is punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment. Given aggravated circumstances, the sentence may range from six months to two years. Attempted rape and sexual coercion are also punishable.
The 2005 Sexual Offences Act expanded the definition of rape to include all uses of violence or coercion to force the victim to perform sexual acts that are comparable to intercourse with respect to “the nature of the violation or the prevailing conditions.” It also removed the requirement of resistance on the part of the victim and included exploitation of the “helpless state” of the victim as constituting rape.
According to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, “The latter amendment facilitates the prosecution of rapes using so-called date-rape drugs, because the prosecution no longer has to prove that the perpetrator himself administered the drug to render his victim helpless.”
In addition, the 2005 Act introduced special provisions concerning the rape of children. The requirement for coercion to be present has been abolished with respect to the rape of children under the age of 15, the age of consent in Sweden. Contact with children under 15 years of age for sexual purposes is also prohibited, including internet contact intended to lead to a sexual assault. Penalties range from fines to one year’s imprisonment.
The Government of Sweden has carried out programs to combat rape and other forms of violence against women. According to its 2006 report to Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Violence against Women (CEDAW) Committee, the National Police Board and the Swedish Prosecution Authority carried out a hearing on how rape investigations can be improved, and the police were given special training to strengthen its capacity to investigate and prevent rape. As of the 2006 report, 70% of municipalities had action plans to combat violence against women, and the number had grown steadily over the prior years.
According to a 2010 report by Amnesty International (AI) on rape in Nordic countries, a particular concern in the case of Sweden is that most rape cases never come to trial. “Only a small number of reported rapes results in a prosecution, with an even smaller number resulting in a conviction.” Lack of evidence is usually cited as the reason for closing rape cases. AI expressed its concern that “in practice, many perpetrators enjoy impunity.”
In addition, AI criticized Swedish rape law for requiring the use of violence or threats in an act of rape, rather than basing rape provisions on the requirement of consent to sexual activities.
And it encouraged measures to strengthen the legal, medical, and psychosocial support for victims of rape.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women stated in 2007 that situations of lack of evidence in rape cases in Sweden could be avoided if the police or medical personnel who have first contact with victims are better trained in gathering and recording evidence of sexual violence.
Similarly, according to the 2007 NGO Shadow Report to the CEDAW by the Swedish CEDAW-Network and the Swedish Women’s Lobby, “Poorly conducted preliminary investigations are one reason for this low number of [rape] convictions.” It also noted that in rape cases, women are often asked offensive questions about their clothing and sexual activity.
Sexual harassment is illegal under Swedish civil law, though not defined in its penal law. In the Discrimination Act (2008), Chapter 1, Section 4, sexual harassment is defined as a form of discrimination that is sexual in nature and violates a person’s dignity. Section 2 contains rules on the obligation to investigate and take measures against harassment in the workplace, educational institutions, and in the military and civil services. Chapter 3, Section 6 obliges employers in particular to take measures to prevent and hinder sexual harassment. The employer may be required to pay damages. Other legal measures may be taken under the Employment Protection Act. The offender responsible for the harassment may be transferred or dismissed from work.
According to the Work Environment Survey, carried out by the Swedish Bureau of Statistics, in 2009 18% of women and 7% of men reported experiencing gender harassment at work during the previous year. However, the rates of sexual harassment were lower at 2% for women and 1% for men. Prevalence rates of sexual harassment were highest for young women in the white collar sector (7% reported experiencing it in the previous year), as well as for women in traditionally male-dominated sectors, including the police force and the military. According to a 2011 report, since 2009 there had been 129 cases of sexual harassment reported to the Equality Ombudsman. Only five were arbitrated, and one led to a conviction in the Labour Court.
According to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå), in 2012, 16,700 sexual offenses were reported and reported cases of rape (6,200) decreased by 5% from the previous year. The vast majority of victims are women with 26% of all reported cases occurring inside the home of the victim or perpetrator. Statutory rape is also an issue with one third of all rape victims being under that age of 15
The number of reported cases of violence against women has increased over time; however, the police estimate that reported cases represent only 10-20% of call sexual offences committed in the country. To some extent, the increase in reported cases of violence against women is due to more cases actually being reported as such, especially since the law was changed in the early 1980s so that abused women could no longer withdraw their complaints. According to other larger Swedish surveys, this increase is mainly due to reports from particularly vulnerable groups: single mothers who are primarily exposed to violence by family members and women who are exposed to violence in their professional life.
In 2010, over 1,300 individuals were prosecuted for sexual crimes; however, only 30% of were sentenced to imprisonment
Female genital mutilation (FGM)
is criminalized by a 1982 law, regardless of the consent of the victim or her parents. The law was strengthened in 1999 to allow prosecution in a Swedish court of someone who carried out FGM in another country, even in one where the act is not a criminal offense.
In 2005, the Government arranged four regional conferences on preventive and supportive work regarding FGM.
As of a 2013 report by the European Institute for Gender Equality, there have been two convictions in Sweden for FGM, both in 2006, resulting in prison sentences of two and three years.
FGM is liable to up to four years of imprisonment. If the offence has endangered the life of the person, caused serious illness or involved a highly reckless conduct, the penalty may be brought up to ten years of imprisonment.
The Government’s 2006 report to the CEDAW Committee reported regarding honour-related crimes
that between 1,500 and 2,000 girls and young women were subjected to threats and violence from their close relatives, and that 10-15% were in need of shelter housing.
According to a 2007 report, the National Police Board calculates that about 400 cases of honour-related violence had come to the attention of authorities every year.
According to the NGO CEDAW Shadow Report, thousands of young women live under some degree of honour-related oppression.
The Government funds program to combat this form of violence.
In 2007, the government of Sweden adopted a national action plan to combat men’s violence against women, violence and oppression in the name of honour and violence in same-sex relationships. Over SEK 1 billion was allocated to implement the plan with a focus on six action areas: better protection and support for people subjected to violence: enhanced preventive work; enhanced quality and efficiency in the legal system; development of measures directed at the perpetrators of violence; increased collaboration; and better knowledge.
In 2011 and 2013 the government carried out programs to establish healthcare guidelines for addressing the needs of victims of sexual violence and hour crimes.
Women who have been trafficked
for commercial sexual exploitation or forced labour can be found in Sweden. Authorities report that organized crime groups are increasingly involved in leading trafficking schemes.
In 2004 a new provision was introduced into the Aliens Acts that allows victims of trafficking to obtain a temporary residence permit for the duration of the criminal process. The victim is also entitled to social security benefits.
According to the NGO CEDAW Shadow Report, few perpetrators are convicted of trafficking, and trafficking victims face difficulties during and after the police investigation and court proceedings.
The Abortion Act (1975) gives women the legal right to an abortion
without giving a reason up to the eighteenth week of pregnancy. However, between 12 and 18 weeks of gestation, a woman must discuss her decision with a social worker. After eighteen weeks, abortions are only permissible to save the life or physical health of the mother, and permission must be obtained from the National Board of Health and Welfare. Abortion is subsidized by the Government of Sweden. 
It must be performed in a general hospital or approved healthcare establishment, except in case of emergency.
 Sweden.se (2013)  Ertürk (2007) p. 15  Ertürk (2007) p. 17  U.S. Department of State (2013) p. 10  Ertürk (2007) p. 20  CEDAW (2006) p. 13  Ertürk (2007) p. 18 Government Offices of Sweden (2013), Stronger protection against forced marriage and child marriage, and access to Council of Europe Convention on Violence against Women http://www.regeringen.se/sb/d/18312/a/233944, (SOU 2012:35)  http://www.mfj.se/en/  Amnesty International (2010) p. 48-49; Swedish penal Code, http://www.government.se/content/1/c6/04/74/55/ef2d4c50.pdf (accessed 21 October, 2014)  Amnesty International (2010) p. 47-48; CEDAW (2006) p. 14  Ertürk (2007) p. 16  Amnesty International (2010) p. 48; U.S. Department of State (2013) p. 12  CEDAW (2006) p. 14-18  Amnesty International (2010) p. 45  Amnesty International (2010) p. 50  Amnesty International (2010) p. 87  Ertürk (2007) p. 16  The Swedish CEDAW-Network and the Swedish Women’s Lobby (2007,) p. 7  Numhauser-Henning (2011), p. 264-265  Brå, Rape and sexual offenses, http://www.bra.se/bra/bra-in-english/home/crime-and-statistics/rape-and-sex-offences.html  Brå, Assault against women, http://www.bra.se/bra/brott-och-statistik/kvinnomisshandel.html  Brå, Rape and sexual offenses, http://www.bra.se/bra/bra-in-english/home/crime-and-statistics/rape-and-sex-offences.html  European Institute for Gender Equality (2013), p. 451-462  CEDAW (2006), p. 18  European Institute for Gender Equality (2013), p. 455-456  Swedish Code of Statutes (n.d.), Act prohibiting female genital mutilation, https://lagen.nu/1982:316#L1999-267 (SFS 1999:267)  CEDAW (2006), p. 19  Ertürk (2007), p. 12  The Swedish CEDAW-Network and the Swedish Women’s Lobby (2007), p. 8  U.S. Department of State (2013), p. 10; CEDAW (2006), p. 19  Government of Sweden (2007)  Government commissions NCK (2013)  U.S. Department of State (2013b), p. 348  Ertürk (2007), p. 20  The Swedish CEDAW-Network and the Swedish Women’s Lobby (2007), p. 7  Abortion Act (1974:595), available: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/population/abortion/SWEDEN.abo.htm; Pew Forum (2008); United Nations (n.d.)  Amendment to the abortion act (2007:998), available: http://www.lagboken.se/files/SFS/2007/070998.PDF