About 215 000 violent sexual crimes were recorded by the police in the European Union (EU) in 2015. A third of these (nearly 80 000) were rapes.
More than 9 in 10 rape victims and more than 8 in 10 sexual assault victims were girls and women, while nearly all those imprisoned for such crimes were male (99%).
In absolute terms, police in England & Wales* recorded the highest number of violent sexual offences (64 500, of which 35 800 rapes – 55%), followed at a distance by Germany (34 300, of which 7 000 rapes – 20%), France (32 900, of which 13 000 rapes – 40%) and Sweden (17 300, of which 5 500 rapes – 33%).
Number of sexual violence offences relative to the population: highest in Sweden and the UK
Relative to the population of each Member State, Sweden recorded the highest number, with 178 violent sexual crimes per 100 000 inhabitants, ahead of Scotland* (163), Northern Ireland (156), England & Wales* (113) and Belgium (91). For rapes, the highest rates were recorded in England & Wales* (62 rapes per 100 000 inhabitants) and in Sweden (57).
It should be borne in mind that the figures do not necessarily reflect the actual number of violent sexual crimes. Rather they show to what extent such crimes are reported to and recorded by police. Therefore the variation between countries is also influenced by general awareness and attitudes to sexual violence offences.
This news item marks the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November).
* Due to the different legal systems in force, data for the United Kingdom are only available at subnational level.
Figures for each category refer to the most recent year for which data are available.