Norway: sex offences in 2005

by Robert Whiston FRSA   Jan 13th 2011

With a population one tenth that of Britain’s it would not be unreasonable to find that criminal offending and sex offences, in particular, were 10% of those found in England & Wales.

 The following table lists the gross total of all crimes reported to the police in 2005. Of the 84,701 general crimes, 14,000 were committed by women. We have to assume that because the term “and age of perpetrator” is used that the numbers refer to cases brought to trial – regardless of whether they were subsequently found guilty or not.

Below that figure is the total showing Sexual Crimes of all types. There were 1,051 sex related crimes in Norway in 2005, of which 122 were rapes and 10 were attempted rapes. Women committed  only one rape and no attempted rapes. Later on in the Table they are shown as a comparatively insignificant number in the various “Sexual intercourse with child” categories.

Before looking more closely at the rape data it is clear that Norway’s division of sex offending closely resembles Britain’s in that Incest (16 cases) is separate from Unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, which is subdivided by ages, e.g. a total of 58 cases in the ‘under 10’ category

These offences are then differentiated from unlawful sexual ACTS (not intercourse) on a person under 16 (82 instances), or lewd and/or indecent acts (286 cases).

Focusing exclusively on general or adult sex offending (totaling 1,051), the above table shows a surge in rapes in the 30 -39 age band. That increase, or spike, in numbers is shown in graphic terms in the following chart.

Before the spike appears the early perpetrator trend line looks as if it might, after rising steadily from those aged ‘under 14’, subside into a natural curve culminating in the 50 -59 years old grouping (see “Norway: rapes 2005 by age group”).

Norway categorises sex crimes committed from the tender age of 5, which may surprise many. The ‘Under 14’ category shown in the graph (right) refers to the age range ‘5  to 14’.

The data used to create the graphic is found in the table format below. Compared with ‘All types of crimes’ there are relatively few sex-related crimes.  At a little over 1.2% (1,051 /  84,701) the ratio of sex-related crimes is on a par with England & Wales.

The age groupings, however, give a false impression. Apart from the middle and late years, e.g. 30 – 39, all other earlier age grouping span only 2 or 3 years. When these earlier age grouping are standardised with the middle and late year categories a completely different picture emerges. Far from the early years, i.e. 14 to 21 being a time when offending starts at a low level and increases with age / time, the 14 to 21 age period appears to be when offending is at its highest – the very opposite of the impression given by the first table displayed above  (see graphic below).

Could this also be true of rape data ?

The following graph displays data – specifically for rape – reassembled into 10 yearly intervals. Admittedly, there are only 122 rapes recorded in the whole of Norway, and errors are possible on so small a sample, but the trend appears to be unmistakable. It sharply follows, by age group, that for general sex offending in Norway.

NB ‘Attempted rapes’ have not been included due to their small number (one in each age bracket) which might skew the already small dataset.

There is a possibility that 10 yearly intervals are too clumsy and that important nuances might be accidentally hidden. Therefore, the same analysis but this time with 5 yearly intervals is shown below.

Firstly, one can see – as one would normally expect – that the offending total for children aged between 4 and 14 is low – but perhaps not as low as one might have first thought.

Secondly, the engine behind the high rape incidence seen in the youngest age bracket seen above is actually the 15 to 19 year olds. There after rape reports taper off. There are several explanations for this one of them being that older teenagers know how to handle intimate relationships netter as they get older.

Rapes appear to taper off thereafter and this trend applies to the age brackets from the 20- 24 along to the 30 -34 group.

The third characteristic is a slight increase seen in the 35- 39 age group which breaks the otherwise downward trend.

Fourthly, the downward trend stalls at the 40-44 and 45 – 49 age brackets. It falls again in the 50-54 and the 55-59 but then, surprisingly, rises in the 60+ age bracket.

From a limited number of English rape cases published in newspapers and from ad hoc confidential reports from some who have been falsely accused of rape it does appear as if there is a sub-set of females aged approx. 20 to 30 years old.  This sub-set accuses men aged 40  -45 of raping them even though they may never have met. This finding is still in it infancy in Britain but in so small a sample size in Norway it could have disproportionate effects. This might well account for the stall and then the continuation of the downward trend seen around the age of 40 to 49. However, the rise in the 60+  is curious.

Is 2005 a typical year ?

From other official Norwegian sources the following data for the years 1993 – 2006 concerning ‘Rapes and Sexual Offences’ is shown in table below.

This shows that in 2005 there were 3,197 sexual offences of all types and 798 rapes reported to the police.

The difference between the 3,197 sexual offences reported and the figure of 1,501 shown above is the conviction and acquittal differences. The 1,051 refers to perpetrators charged and tried not the number of reports. The same applies to the 798 reported rapes and the 122 listed convictions.

Over a period of more than 10 years ‘Sexual Offences’ reported to the police have risen 61% from 2,118 to 3,463. Over the same period rapes have risen from 368 in 1993 to 840 in 2006.

To put those general sexual offences offending rates on a par with England & Wales required them to be multiplied by 10. Thus 2,118  would become 21,180  and 3,463 would become  34,630.

Similarly, the 798 reported rapes in 2005 would become 7,980 if the population was the size of England & Wales. In fact 13,327 rapes (almost double the expected number) were reported that year to the police in England & Wales. This again underscores the aberrant behaviour of rape statistics in Britain.

In Britain there were 4,589 reported rape to the police in 1993 and by 2005 there were 13,327 reported rapes. This is not a surge of 61% but a trebling of the 1993 levels. [1]

One question that remains unanswered is whether Norway considers ‘Sexual intercourse with child under 10′ (of which there were 69 charges laid in 2005) to be more properly in the realm of paedophilia, or whether there is a separate category for child abuse not listed in these tables.  


[*] The five year graph is courtesy of George Piskor (Canada).

[1] Reported rapes. “Crime in England and Wales 2007/08” (July 2008). 


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