Newly released preliminary statistics from Sweden’s Crime Prevention Council (Brå) show that in the last five years, sex attacks against girls aged 15 to 17 have increased by 51 per cent.
The statistics reveal that the total number of rapes in 2019 increased by six per cent to 8,350 cases compared to the previous year, although sexual abuse cases remained largely at the same level with 9,730 cases recorded in total, Nyheter Idag reports.
When compared to statistics from 2015, the number of sex offences in which the female victim was older than 18 was 27 per cent higher in 2019 and for cases in which the victim was 15 to 17 years old, the increase was 51 per cent. Cases involving victims under 15 years old also increased by 11 per cent over the same period.
A report released last year by Brå revealed that in 2018, around six per cent of the Swedish population said they had been the victim of some form of sexual offence compared to just 1.4 per cent in 2011.
The surge in sex offences against underage girls is not a new trend and Swedish police promised last year to tackle the problem of sex attacks on vulnerable people and children by employing hundreds of new police officers to boost the number of officers investigating sex crimes.
Sweden has seen several high-profile cases involving the sexual abuse of children, many of which have involved migrants and asylum seekers such as a case in the summer of 2018 that involved a migrant raping an 11-year-old and getting her pregnant twice.
The migrant, said to be in his 20s, was able to molest the young girl for months and was not arrested by police until July 2019. He later claimed he did not know the girl’s real age, stating he believed her to be above the Swedish sexual consent age of 15.
A similar case was reported in June of last year, with a 17-year-old migrant accused of having sex with an underage girl claiming that he did not realise sex with the minor was a crime, despite it being alleged he forced the victim to have sexual relations.