Published February 16, 2011
Compiled police data shows that only 12% of alleged rapes reported to the police ended with a conviction of the accused parties.
The findings of data compiled by the state police office and the office of the chief of police for Reykjavík has shown a light on a number of facts about sexual assault in Iceland, Vísir reports.
In 2008, 368 sexual assaults were reported to the police; 68 of these charges were for rape and 33 for molestation. 71% took place the same year they were reported, 13% were from 2007, and 16% occurred between 1971 and 2006.
Of the 68 rapes reported, police either dismissed or stopped investigations on 43 of them, or 63% of the whole. Of those remaining, about a fourth were dismissed by the state prosecutor and 12% ended in a conviction.
Molestation charges were more likely to survive the court process, as 72% of all cases reported to the police made it to the prosecutor’s office, as opposed to 37% of rapes. 42% of these cases were dismissed at this point, while 30% resulted in a conviction.
Other forms of sexual assault were dismissed by police 35% of the time.
While the conviction is low, the sexual assault crisis centre Stígamót has maintained that sentencing is the area were they would especially like to see changes happen. As Þórunn Þórarinsdóttir, a counselor at rape crisis centre Stígamót, told the Grapevine in 2005, “I’ve asked judges and police why they give heavier sentences for fraud and robbery [than they do for rape], and they’ve told me that when a person steals, they’ve been planning the crime for a while and have it organised how they’re going to commit the crime – they don’t feel rape or incest are planned. Some think these crimes reflect a sickness; that they didn’t know what they were doing. They also sometimes have a hard time facing reality. They think, so-and-so’s a nice guy, they start making excuses for him because it’s unbearable for them to face that he knew what he was doing.”