The Government of Sweden’s measures against sexual violence and harassment
One of the Swedish Government’s gender equality policy sub-goals is that men’s violence against women must stop. With reference to #metoo, the following lists some examples of implemented and forthcoming measures to counteract sexual violence, harassment and assault.
The Government's work involves preventive initiatives, stronger protection and support, more effective law enforcement, work environment investments and awareness-building measures.
Work at an overarching level
• On 1 January 2017, the ten-year national strategy to prevent and combat men's violence against women, including honour-related violence and oppression, as well as prostitution and human trafficking for sexual purposes, came into effect. The strategy, which contains a package of measures, is intended to guide central government steering in this area and has a particular focus on developing efforts to prevent violence. In total, the Government is setting aside around SEK 1.3 billion for efforts to counteract men's violence against women in 2017–2020.
Fact sheet: National strategy to prevent and combat men's violence against women
• A new gender equality agency begins working in January 2018. The agency will work with follow-up, analysis, coordination, knowledge and support for achieving the Government's gender equality policy goals. One of the sub-goals is that men's violence against women must stop, and that women and men, girls and boys must have the same right and access to physical integrity.
Summary of the Government Communication 'Power, goals and agency – a feminist policy'
Stronger protection and support
• At the end of 2017 the Government proposed to the Council on Legislation new sexual offence legislation that is based on consent.The Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority will receive resources to implement information and training initiatives in the area of sexual offences.
Press release: New sexual offence legislation based on consent
• The Act on special protection for workers against reprisals for whistleblowing concerning serious irregularities, the Whistleblowing Act, which entered into force on 1 January 2017, can be applicable in situations where an employer takes reprisals against an employee for reporting sexual harassment to a government agency or the media.
• In its bill on enhanced penal protection of personal integrity, the Government proposed that the protection against threats and violations be strengthened and modernised. Most of this enters into force on 1 January 2018.
• At the turn of 2016/17, the legislation for counteracting workplace discrimination was tightened.
• The issue of better protection against discrimination and violations in schools (based on SOU 2016:87) is being processed at the Government Offices.
More effective law enforcement and preventive efforts
• The Government is implementing a historic investment through additional funding to the Swedish Police Authority of just over
SEK 9.8 billion over the period 2017–2020. Assignments in the appropriation directions to the Police and the Swedish Prosecution Authority allow the Government to follow how these authorities are working to develop their working methods for investigating rape and other sexual offences.
• The Government has an agreement with Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, SALAR, in 2017 to strengthen the focus of gender equality work on men, boys and questions of masculinity.
Work environment investments
• The Government has adopted a national work environment strategy in close consultation with the labour market and union partners, containing concrete measures in three priority areas, one of which is the psychosocial work environment. The strategy has been produced partly in light of gender segregation in the Swedish labour market. Research indicates that a gender unequal organisation goes hand in hand with psychosocial aspects such as conflict, harassment and high staff turnover.
• The Government's strategy emphasises that initiatives are needed to strengthen the organisational and social work environment. The Swedish Work Environment Authority's regulations on organisational and social work environment were adopted in spring 2016 and entail a major step forward in work environment management. Victimisation is a focus area in the regulations.
• The Government has enhanced resources for its work environment policy by over SEK 100 million per year during this term of office. The funds have enabled the Work Environment Authority to strengthen its supervisory activities. Around a hundred new work environment inspectors have been hired.
• The Government has adopted some changes to the Swedish Work Environment Authority's instructions, which enter into force on 2 January 2018. The instructions now explicitly state that the Authority is to conduct its activities so as to promote diversity and gender equality and a work environment free from victimisation (Section 4 a).
• The Children´s Welfare Foundation Sweden is receiving SEK 500,000 from the Government to disseminate information and support materials on sexual harassment to all compulsory and upper secondary schools.
• In order to raise the basic competency of particularly relevant professional groups, the Government has decided to make teaching about men's violence against women and violence in close relationships, including honour-related violence and oppression, compulsory in a number of higher education programmes.
• The Swedish Schools Inspectorate is reviewing the sex and human relationships teaching of compulsory schools, compulsory education for pupils with intellectual disabilities, upper secondary schools and upper secondary education for pupils with learning disabilities. The completed assignment is to be presented by 16 February 2018 at the latest. The teacher's guide "Dags att prata om" [Time to talk about] has been launched for schools to improve their ability to talk to children about sexual abuse.