Murder and manslaughter

Murder, manslaughter, and assault with a lethal outcome are usually jointly designated lethal violence. In 2021, 113 cases of lethal violence were confirmed in Sweden.

Lethal violence

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Confirmed cases of lethal violence, in total and by sex¹ for the years, 2002 – 2020
(Reported cases of lethal violence where lethal violence is highly likely to be the cause of death). Source: Confirmed cases of lethal violence (Brå)

1.) The victim's sex is reported for the confirmed cases of lethal violence since 2011. In one of the cases in 2012, the victim's sex could not be established.

In 2021, 113 cases of lethal violence were confirmed in Sweden. This can be seen from the statistic regarding confirmed cases of lethal violence. This is a decrease by 11 cases, as compared with 2020.

Since 2002, when Brå started producing the statistics, the level of confirmed cases of lethal violence has fluctuated between 68 and 124 cases. Up until 2014, the development of the number of cases was marked by an overall downward trend with relatively large variations from year to year. From 2015 onwards, the number of cases has been at a higher level than in previous years, which has broken the downward trend. The average of lethal violence for the last ten years is 103 cases per year

Sex

In 2021, the victim was a female in 24 cases (21 %) and a male in 89 cases (79 %). Compared to 2020, the number of female victims decreased with 1 case in 2021, while the number of male victims decreased by 10 cases.

In relation to the population, the number of confirmed cases of lethal violence was 1.08 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021, a slightly lower level than in 2020 (1.20). For females, the number was broadly the same for both years (0.46 female victims per 100,000 female inhabitants in 2021 and 0.49 for 2020), while the number of male victims per 100,000 male inhabitants was lower in 2021 (1.70) compared with 2020 (1.90).

Against someone in close relationship (partner or ex-partner)

In 19 cases of the confirmed cases of lethal violence in 2021, victims and perpetrators were related by a close relationship (partner or ex-partner), which accounted for 17 per cent of all cases of lethal violence. In 2020, the corresponding number was 17 cases (14%)

The number of cases of lethal violence against females in a close relationship in 2021 amounted to 15 cases, which equals to 63 per cent of all cases of lethal violence with female victims during the year. The corresponding number for male victims in 2021 was 4 cases (4%).

Use of firearms

In 2021, firearms were used in 45 of the observed cases of lethal violence, 3 less than in 2020, which corresponded to 40 percent of all observed cases of lethal violence in 2021. The corresponding proportion in 2020 was 39 percent. In the cases where a firearm was used 2021, the victim was a male in 43 of the cases (96 %), and in the other 2 cases the victim was a female. The sex ratio for male victims in the cases where a firearm was used has been pending between 82 to 98 percent with an average of 91 percent during the period 2012-2021.

Regional breakdown

At the regional level, there were some changes in the number of observed cases of lethal violence in 2021 compared with 2020. With the exception of the regions Bergslagen (+ 3 cases) and Öst (+ 1 case), all other regions had fewer cases in 2021 compared with 2020.

The majority (76 cases, corresponded to 67 %) of the confirmed cases of lethal violence in 2021 were reported in one of the major metropolitan regions of Stockholm, Väst and Syd. This level has fluctuated between 64 and 75 percent during the last ten years (2012 2021)

The figures above come from Brå's special study of lethal violence which only includes reported cases of lethal violence where lethal violence is highly likely to be the cause of death. This is because the statistic regarding reported offences is misleading where lethal violence is concerned, since it shows all reported incidents with a lethal outcome where there initially was reason to investigate whether lethal violence may have been used. Following investigation, many of these incidents are seen to involve something other than lethal violence, for example suicide, accident, or natural death. It also occurs that several police reports are prepared for a single case of suspected lethal violence, which means that the statistic contains repeats. Moreover, attempts, preparation, and conspiracy to commit murder or manslaughter are erroneously registered as completed murder or manslaughter