Sexual assaults in central Reykjavík have increased drastically over the past few years, reports Vísir. According to police statistics 22 sexual assaults were reported in 2010, 17 in 2011 and 36 in 2012, so an average of 25 cases a year.
In 2013 however, a record 60 sexual assaults were reported in Reykjavík, roughly 140% more than the average between 2010 -2012.
Guðrún Jónsdóttir, spokeswoman for Stígamót, the Education and Counseling Centre for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Violence says the numbers fit with the developments she’s seen at the centre in recent years.
“The number of cases we saw increased by 70 last year,” said Guðrún. “The year we opened our doors, 1990, it was like an explosion [of women coming to the centre] there was no other comparable service in the country. Back then we could handle the demand but not anymore.”
When asked what might explain this increase in sexual assaults Guðrún says there could be many reasons.
“People have speculated many possibilities. For example that more women are comfortable coming forward, that they won’t put up with the injustice and are ready to charge even the more difficult cases,” said Guðrún who also felt disturbed by how much sexual assault is thriving in the heart of the city.
“I hope that Reykjavík’s new Police Commissioner and the Director of Welfare for the City of Reykjavík – who have said that they will deal with issues of violence – will include sexual assault cases in their definition of that. I just hope they react to the news responsibly.”
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