Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape, including spousal rape, is illegal, and the government enforced the law effectively. The law stipulates more severe penalties for repeated crimes and for cases in which the perpetrator had a close relationship with the victim. Penalties range from two to 10 years in prison. The National Council for Crime Prevention (NCCP) reported 5,960 rapes during 2010, compared with 5,937 in 2009.
The NCCP reported approximately 27,300 cases of assault of women during 2010, the latest year for which data was available. Authorities apprehended and prosecuted abusers in most cases.
The law provides victims with protection from contact with their abusers. When necessary, authorities helped victims to protect their identities or to obtain new identities and homes. According to official statistics, approximately 12,000 persons, mostly women, were in these programs at the end of the year. Both national and local governments helped fund volunteer groups that provided shelter and other assistance for abused women, and both private and public organizations ran shelters and operated hotlines.
According to official figures for 2010, 27 percent of girls and women with a non-Swedish background, or approximately 100,000 persons in total, faced unreasonable restrictions from home that could be seen as honor-related. Honor-related violence exclusively involved immigrants from Muslim countries; police concentrated on educating police officers and prosecutors to increase their awareness of the problem and to improve its detection and prevention. In 2010 county administration boards used a grant of 36 million kronor ($5.2 million) from the Ministry for Integration and Gender Equality to work against honor-related restrictions. On July 28, the government, through the Ministry for Education and Research, announced a 9.6-million-kronor ($1.4 million) addition to the grant. At year’s end there were no reports of the results of these programs.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment, and the government generally enforced this law in practice. Employers who do not investigate and intervene against harassment at work may be liable for damages to the victim. There are no criminal penalties for harassment.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children, and to have the information and means to do so free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. There was easy access to contraception, prenatal care, maternal health services including skilled attendance during childbirth, essential obstetric and postpartum care, and family planning practices.
Discrimination: Women have the same legal rights as men in the judicial system, including rights under family law and property law. Some sectors of the labor market, including the financial sector and high-ranking positions in both in the public and private sectors, still showed significant gender disparities in terms of salaries, especially in male-dominated occupations. Women’s salaries averaged approximately 86 percent of men’s.
The discrimination ombudsman investigated complaints of gender discrimination in the labor market. Complaints could be filed also with the courts or with the employer. Labor unions generally mediated in cases filed with the employer. There were 61discrimination complaints related to parental leave during the year.