Sweden

Sweden regularly reports hate crime data to ODIHR. Sweden's criminal law contains a general penalty-enhancement provision. Sweden includes defamation, hate speech and discrimination crimes in its data. Hate crime data are collected by the National Council for Crime Prevention and are based on information from the police and the prosecution authority. Since 2012, the number of hate crime cases is estimated based on a statistical sample of police reports. Hate crime reports are published annually. Victimization surveys, used to measure unreported crime, are also conducted annually.

SELECT YEAR

Official country information

Year Hate crimes recorded by police Prosecuted Sentenced About these data
2015 4859 255 Not available
2014 4258 279 Not available
2013 3943 161 Not available
2012 5518 344 Not available
2011 5493 347 Not available
Bias motivationType of crimeRecorded by policeProsecutedSentenced
Racism and xenophobiaPhysical assault54800
Vandalism69100
Threats/ threatening behaviour188000
Bias against Roma and SintiPhysical assault4000
Vandalism1200
Threats/ threatening behaviour9200
Anti-SemitismPhysical assault800
Vandalism1400
Threats/ threatening behaviour12700
Bias against MuslimsPhysical assault4600
Vandalism7600
Threats/ threatening behaviour24700
Bias against Christians and members of other religionsPhysical assault7000
Vandalism20700
Threats/ threatening behaviour36800
Bias based on sexual orientation and gender identityPhysical assault10800
Vandalism5400
Threats/ threatening behaviour27100

Hate crimes recorded by police by bias motivation

Official figures recorded 3,119 racist and xenophobic crimes, of which 548 were physical assaults, 691 cases of vandalism or damage to property and 1,880 threats.

Figures reported to ODIHR included an estimated 4,527 hate crime reports with xenophobic or racist motives. The number presented here excludes cases of defamation, hate speech and unlawful discrimination that do not fall within the OSCE definition of hate crime.

As divided by type of crime:

Official figures recorded 144 crimes motivated by bias against Roma and Sinti, including 40 physical assaults, 12 cases of vandalism or damage to property and 92 cases of threats.

Figures reported to ODIHR include an estimated 238 hate crime reports. The number presented here excludes cases of defamation, hate speech and unlawful discrimination that do not fall within the OSCE definition of hate crime.

As divided by type of crime:

Official figures recorded 149 anti-Semitic crimes, including eight assaults, 14 cases of vandalism/damage to property and 127 cases of threats.

Figures reported to ODIHR include an estimated 277 hate crime reports. The number presented here excludes cases of defamation and hate speech that do not fall within the OSCE definition of hate crime.

As divided by type of crime:

Official figures recorded 369 crimes motivated by anti-Muslim bias, consisting of 46 assaults, 76 cases of vandalism/damage to property, and 247 cases of threats.

Figures reported to ODIHR include an estimated 557 hate crime reports. The number presented here excludes cases of defamation, hate speech and unlawful discrimination that do not fall within the OSCE definition of hate crime.

As divided by type of crime:

Official figures recorded 645 anti-religious hate crimes, of which 354 were motivated by bias against Christians.

Figures reported to ODIHR include an estimated 719 hate crime reports, of which 388 were against Christians. The number presented here excludes cases of defamation and hate speech that do not fall within the OSCE definition of hate crime.

As divided by type of crime:

Official figures recorded 433 crimes motivated by bias based on sexual orientation.

Figures reported to ODIHR include an estimated 664 hate crime reports on crimes motivated by bias against sexual orientation and transgender identity. The number presented here excludes cases of defamation and hate speech that do not fall within the OSCE definition of hate crime.

As divided by type of crime:

Hate crimes recorded by police by type of crime

Includes a selection of crimes of a violent nature: homicide, assault and violence against a public servant.

As divided by bias motivation:

Includes crimes that are officially categorized as criminal damage/graffiti.

As divided by bias motivation:

Includes crimes that are officially categorized as 'unlawful threats and non-sexual molestation'.

As divided by bias motivation:

National developments

The Swedish National Police Board continued its project aimed at increasing efforts to counter hate crimes, which was extended until May 2016. The Swedish Police Authority western region began preparatory work for the establishment of a special team to investigate hate crimes and started developing a regional action plan to counter hate crimes. The Swedish Prosecution Authority designed a study to review 300 cases of hate crime to improve the quality of legal proceedings and organized a hate crime seminar to increase the competence of hate crime prosecutors.

The Red Cross developed an online course on "Preparedness to deal with xenophobic acts" that provides civil society groups (around 150 organizations) with the tools to develop a contingency plan in the event of a hate incident.

The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL), through its Network for Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination, which involved 25 municipalities and the Equality Ombudsman, developed a ten-step programme, which includes how municipalities can counter hate crimes and offer conflict management, as well as promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

The Swedish Crime Victim Fund supported the study "Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority: Exposure and Experiences of Hate Crime – A Comparison between Student Populations in the United Kingdom and Sweden."

The Commission against Antiziganism published the report "Taking Action Against Antiziganistic Hate Crimes," which contains ODIHR’s observations regarding hate crimes against Roma and Sinti People and recommended measures that were mainly aimed at law enforcement personnel.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden conducted a survey for transgender people regarding health and health determinants, including experiences of harassment and abuse. The final report is publicly available. The Swedish Crime Victim Fund allocated funds to the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights in order to ensure victim support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people who experience a hate crime.

The Swedish Committee against Anti-Semitism organized two training workshops aimed at teachers who want to offer in-depth knowledge of the Holocaust, and providing pedagogical methods to use when teaching students about the Holocaust. The workshops also addressed historical and contemporary forms of anti-Semitism and intolerance against Roma and Sinti people, including hate crimes. The workshops took place in Kalmar and Norrköping.

The Swedish Committee against Anti-Semitism developed an educational programme that involved 400 students and approximately 80 teachers from 84 different schools in 28 different municipalities.  The programme aims to increasing knowledge of "Nazi crimes," contemporary racist and anti-democratic ideas and their consequences, such as hate crimes.

Civil society information

Overview of incidents reported by civil society

Bias Motivation Attacks Against People Attacks Against Property
Violent Attacks Threats
Racism and xenophobia2046
Anti-Semitism210
Bias against Muslims212
Bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity601
Total12249
Grand Total63

Reports

Racism and xenophobia

  • The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Human Rights First and SETA reported the murder of two students with a sword with anti-Muslim and racist motivations, and three arson attacks on housing for asylum seekers. The Kantor Center reported 43 arson attacks on centres for asylum seekers. 
    read more ›

Anti-Semitism

  • The Kantor Center reported two physical assaults and one incident in which a Jewish family was threatened.
    read more ›

Bias against Muslims

  • The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Human Rights First and SETA reported the murder of two students with a sword with of anti-Muslim and racist motivations. SETA also reported an arson attack on a mosque, a case of threatening through mail, and vandalism involving desecration of a mosque, throwing canned pork and drawing graffiti.
    read more ›

Bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity

  • ILGA-Europe and RFSL Crime Victim Support reported five physical assaults, including two carried out by groups and one in which a transgender woman was beaten and sexually assaulted.
    read more ›

IGO information

Racism and xenophobia

  • Following its mission to Sweden, the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent recommended that more resources be allocated to police and prosecution authorities to investigate and prosecute hate crimes against people of African descent. It also recommended the collection and publishing of data on hate crimes against Afro-Swedes as a distinct category, and not as a subcategory of racist hate crimes.

  • Following its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Swedish authorities expressed support for recommendations to strengthen efforts to effectively investigate, prosecute and punish all hate crimes, and to expand training programmes on hate crimes provided for police, prosecutors and judges.

Key observation

ODIHR observes that Sweden has not reported information on sentenced hate crime cases to ODIHR.