School surveys: Sexual violence against children is declining

According to health surveys conducted in schools in central Finland, sexual violence against children is becoming less common.

There has been an increasing debate on the Internet about sexual offenses against minors. Last week, Yle News published a story about the situation some children face online.

Investigations have shown that crimes of sexual violence have decreased and that if they do occur, they are likely to be brought to the attention of law enforcement agencies, the detective chief Saara Asmundela Inside – from the Finnish Police Department.

"Children who responded to the survey reported experiencing less sexual violence than [in previous surveys] and that the forms of sexual violence were milder. However, such online acts are an exception, their number has increased," Asmundela, who specializes in the prevention of crimes against children, said.

"As the number of complaints of sexual violence is left to the police, it is likely that the majority of such crimes will come to the attention of the authorities," he said.

"That is a positive trend. People are better aware of their rights and better able to identify crimes than before, for example people are more aware of their obligations to report suspected crimes to the police," Asmundela explained.

Many crimes went unreported

The number of reports of sex offenses against children increases as police publish investigations into similar cases. However, Asmundela noted that a large proportion of crimes against children never come to the attention of the authorities.

According to a study by parents, as many as 80 percent of sexual offenses involving physical contact with children were not reported to police.

"We still live in a world where sexual offenses take place and which also affect children," Asmundela said.

Questionnaire data on child crime are derived from health surveys conducted in schools.

The number of child sexual offenses reported to the Central Finnish authorities increased sharply in the first half of this year to 137 reported, which was twice as many as a year earlier.

The significant increase was explained, at least in part, by the large number of related sexual offenses in which about 70 criminal reports have been reported to date.

"In crime statistics, events are recorded in the year in which they are recorded, although they may have occurred before that. In large cases, there is a tendency to affect the figures when many crimes are recorded in a short time," Asmundela explained.

Source: The Nordic Page





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