Fact sheet: National strategy to prevent and combat men’s violence against women

Stopping men's violence against women is a priority issue for Sweden's feminist government. The Government is therefore now presenting a national strategy to prevent and combat men's violence against women.

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The strategy contains measures that strengthen protection for and support to women subjected to violence, measures to combat violence in same-sex relationships as well as measures that counteract destructive masculinity and notions of honour. The strategy also emphasises the participation and responsibility of men in stopping the violence.

With a long-term strategy and a targeted action plan, the Government is laying the foundation for increasingly goal-oriented and coordinated action on men’s violence against women. Developing violence prevention measures is particularly important. These measures must reach all groups in society and be developed in a variety of arenas. The national strategy is included in the Government’s gender equality policy communication to the Riksdag (2016/17:10).  The strategy spans a ten-year period and will come into force on 1 January 2017.

The strategy’s four objectives

  • Increased and effective preventive work to combat violence.
  • Improved detection of violence and stronger protection for and support to women and children subjected to violence.
  • More effective crime-fighting.
  • Improved knowledge and methodological development. 

Special emphasis on preventive measures and men’s participation

To date, measures have tended to deal with the consequences of violence rather than the causes. The Government’s ambition is to shift the perspective and focus on preventing violence. This requires effective measures to prevent both the use and reoccurrence of violence. It also requires broader and more constructive involvement of men and boys than previously, and breaking with the norms that justify violence, the purchase of sexual services and other restrictions on the freedom of action and life choices of women and girls.

There are major challenges with regard to men’s violence against women, honour-related violence and oppression, and action to combat prostitution and human trafficking for sexual purposes. Society must become better at detecting violence, and knowledge about the extent of the violence and effective practices needs to improve. Action to prevent violence must be well coordinated between relevant actors at all levels. Therefore, the control, coordination and follow-up of the measures to stop men’s violence against women will be strengthened.

Long-term action plan for goal-oriented, coordinated and effective action

As a part of the strategy’s implementation, the Government is allocating SEK 600 million to an action plan containing new measures for 2017–2020, in addition to SEK 300 million in development funds to municipalities and county councils. The role of the county administrative boards as regional coordinators will be clarified. The gender equality agency to be established by the Government will eventually be given overall responsibility for the work to end men’s violence against women. Within the framework of the action plan, the Government intends to:

For increased and effective preventive work to combat violence

  • support the development and spread of universal violence preventive efforts with the objective of reaching all young people,
  • conduct a review of sex and relationship education in schools,
  • counteract demand for the purchase of sexual services,
  • strengthen professional treatment of men who have been violent and investigate the ability of municipalities to work with perpetrators of violence early on, and
  • further strengthen prevention of reoffending by convicted perpetrators of violence, both within the Swedish Prison and Probation Service and with other stakeholders.

For improved detection of violence and stronger protection of and support to women and children subjected to violence

  • provide training to professionals, in social services and health and medical care for example, and on routines for asking about exposure to violence,
  • strengthen protection of and support to children who have witnessed or been exposed to violence,
  • strengthen expertise in the field of honour-related violence and oppression,
  • continue the development of knowledge support on prostitution targeted at health and medical care and social services.

For more effective crime-fighting

  • develop police methods and practices for preventing repeated violence,
  • evaluate the 2014 legislative amendments on forced marriages and child marriages,
  • prevent online threats and abuse.

For improved knowledge and methodological development

  • survey the extent of honour-related violence and oppression,
  • develop national statistics on measures in social services and health and medical care, and provide guidance to municipalities on calculating the cost of violence,
  • strengthen knowledge about effective violence prevention,
  • amend the degree descriptions in the Higher Education Ordinance so that knowledge about men’s violence against women and domestic violence are included in education and training for relevant professional groups,
  • allocate funds for skills development for relevant professional groups.

Extensive initiative since Government took office in 2014

Since taking office, the Government has decided on a long list of measures to counter men’s violence against women and domestic violence. For instance, the Government has provided increased support to local women’s shelters for 2015–2019 totalling SEK 425 million. In addition, the Government has decided on, or in other ways taken, more than 20 measures directly related to proposals from the National Coordinator on Domestic Violence.