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Press release from Ministry of Justice

Enhanced protection of sexual integrity


The 2014 Sexual Offences Committee into sexual offences has presented its report ‘Enhanced protection of sexual integrity’ (SOU 2016:60) to Minister for Justice and Migration Morgan Johansson.

Mari Heidenborg, Justice of the Supreme Court, chaired the inquiry, which consisted of twelve members of parliament and eight experts. The inquiry's remit was to review the crime of rape, examine and analyse how the judicial system handles rape cases, and consider whether measures can be taken to improve procedures regarding the appointment of injured party counsel.

"I am pleased that the Sexual Offences Committee has presented so many concrete proposals, such as on the issue of consent and improved support to victims of crime. We need clear legislation in the area of sexual offences," says Mr Johansson.

The Committee proposes the following:

  • Sexual offences legislation shall be amended to ensure that the dividing line between punishable acts and acts exempt from punishment is determined by whether participation in a sexual act was voluntary or not.
  • The offence classification rape shall be removed and replaced by sexual abuse. Certain other offences shall also receive new offence classifications.
  • It shall be clarified in the legislative text that sexual offences taking place remotely, e.g. virtually over the internet, can be classified in the same way as when the persons involved are in the same physical location.
  • A new circumstance, which shall be taken into particular account in assessing whether a certain offence should be classified as gross, is introduced to ensure a strict view of offences committed against children, particularly those over the age of fifteen but under the age of 18.
  • A further degree, exceptionally gross offence, is proposed for the provisions on sexual abuse and sexual abuse of a child.
  • Criminal liability for negligence is introduced for certain sexual offences.
  • An amendment is proposed to the Injured Party Counsel Act (1988:609) to include a directive to ensure that the assessment of whether an injured party counsel is to be appointed takes place immediately after a preliminary investigation of a sexual offence case has been opened or resumed.
  • Requirements are to be tightened concerning the injured party counsel's expertise and suitability. At the same time, a limitation is proposed on 'substitution', the injured party counsel's right to appoint another representative in their place.
  • Several public authorities, including within the judicial system, should be assigned tasks to improve the handling of sexual offence cases.

The inquiry's proposals will now be circulated for comments.