Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape, and the government generally enforced the law. The penalty for rape is two to 21 years in prison, depending on the severity of the assault, the age of the victim, and the circumstances in which the crime occurred. Very few cases resulted in a sentence longer than three years and four months. According to police, 1,131 rapes and 102 attempted rapes were reported in 2013.
According to official statistics for 2013, police investigated 928 rape cases, but authorities only prosecuted 174 (19 percent) of them. Amnesty International-Norway claimed that the law inadequately protected women against violence and that statistics about rape and sexual assault were not regularly updated. NGOs remained concerned the country’s narrow definition of rape led to underestimating the magnitude of the problem.
Violence against women, including spousal abuse, was a problem. The law provides higher penalties for domestic violence than for simple assault, one to three years in prison, with an increased term of up to six years in more severe cases and up to 21 years for aggravated rape. The government generally enforced the law, although the Oslo Crisis Center criticized the conviction rate (approximately 9 percent in 2013) as too low. In 2013 police received 2,829 reports of domestic violence, 11 percent more than in 2012.
The government had programs to prevent rape and domestic violence and to counsel victims. Respective action plans require each of the country’s 27 police districts to have a domestic violence coordinator to assist victims. According to the NGO Legal Aid for Women, 26 of 27 police districts had a full-time domestic violence coordinator.
Public and private organizations operated 45 government-funded shelters, down from 51 in 2012, and managed five 24-hour crisis hotlines. NGOs criticized the government for shifting funding responsibility from the central government to the municipalities, which resulted in less funding and the closing and consolidation of some shelters. The Oslo Crisis Center noted consolidating shelters meant that many women were less likely or unable to seek help, since they would have to travel long distances to do so. The shelters provided support and counseling for victims and helped them gain access to social services, doctors, lawyers, and housing authorities. Victims of domestic violence have a right to consult a lawyer free of charge before deciding whether to make a formal complaint. If the government initiates criminal proceedings, the victim is entitled to free assistance from a victim’s advocate.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): The law prohibits FGM/C, and there were no reports the practice occurred in the country.
Sexual Harassment: The law provides that “employees shall not be subjected to harassment or other unseemly behavior,” and the government effectively enforced this provision. Employers who violate this law are subject to fines or prison sentences of up to two years, depending on the seriousness of the offense.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children, to attain the highest standard of reproductive health, and to have the information and means to do so free from discrimination, coercion, and violence.
Discrimination: Women have the same legal status as men and enjoy identical rights under family, labor, inheritance, and property laws. For the most part, the Ombudsman for Equality and Antidiscrimination (LDO) effectively processed and investigated complaints of gender discrimination. In 2013 the LDO received 33 complaints about discrimination against women. Of all complaints received by the LDO in 2013, 23 percent concerned discrimination based on gender.
The law provides that women and men engaged in the same activity shall receive equal wages for work of equal value. Women earned on average 14.2 percent less than men on a monthly basis in 2013 according to the Statistics Bureau. The government attributed this to differences in the professions chosen by women and men and the predominance of women in part-time or public-sector work. The LDO expressed concern many women were in part-time positions involuntarily because of a tendency in certain industries, such as health and services, to divide work into a large number of part-time slices with no meaningful full-time alternative. According to the Statistics Bureau, in the third quarter of the year 37 percent of women and 13 percent of men worked part time.
The law mandates that 40 percent of the boards of directors of publicly listed companies be women, and virtually all public companies complied with the law.