Reports of Sexual Violence Decreased by 15% in Iceland

police station Hlemmur

The number of reported incidents of sexual violence in Iceland has decreased significantly, according to a newly-published report from the National Police Commissioner’s Office. In 2023, a total of 521 offences were reported to police, a decrease of 15% compared to the average over the last three years. About 45% of victims were children.

Sexual offences against children decrease

There have not been so few reports of sexual offences to police in Iceland since 2017. In 2018, 570 sexual offences were reported, an increase of 18% from the previous year. Over 600 offences were reported in 2019, 2021, and 2022. The number of reports of rape and sexual violence against children decreased significantly last year, according to the report, while reports of rape decreased by 13% compared to the average over the previous three years.

While reports of child abuse increased by 21% compared to the three-year average, reports of sexual offences against children decreased by 20%.

Only 10.3% of victims report to police

In the 2019-2023 Law Enforcement Plan, Icelandic Police have made it a goal to decrease the rate of sexual violence while increasing the rate of reporting. In a victim survey conducted in 2023 which asked about respondents’ experiences from the year 2022, 1.9% stated they had been sexually assaulted and only 10.3% of those victims had reported the incidents to police.

Survivors call for shorter processing times and harsher sentences

Those who do report sexual abuse in Iceland have complained of long processing times: sexual assault cases take around two years to go through the justice system in Iceland. A new organised interest group for sexual abuse survivors was established in Iceland last year with the aim of improving survivors’ legal standing. The group has called for shortening case processing times for sexual offences as well as less lenient sentencing for perpetrators.

Help and support through 112

Sexual violence and abuse in Iceland can always be reported via the emergency phone line 112 or on the 112 webchat. The 112 website has extensive information on how to recognise abuse and ways to get help and support in Iceland. Support is available to all, regardless of immigration or legal status in Iceland.

New Book Exposes YMCA Founder’s Dark Past

Friðrik Friðriksson

A new book authored by historian Guðmundur Magnússon alleges that Reverend Friðrik Friðriksson, founder of YMCA/YWCA Iceland, made sexual advances towards a minor. Following an interview with the author on the Kilja literary programme on RÚV, the YMCA/YWCA leadership expressed shock and commitment to uncovering the truth. A spokesperson for Stígamót has said that more individuals had sought professional counselling because of Reverend Friðrik.

Friðrik and his boys

A new book by historian Guðmundur Magnússon about Reverend Friðrik Friðriksson – an Icelandic priest who founded YMCA/YWCA Iceland and the athletic clubs Haukar and Valur – reveals that Friðrik made sexual advances towards a minor. Guðmundur was a guest of journalist and presenter Egill Helgason on the Kiljan programme on RÚV on Wednesday night where he discussed his new book, Reverend Friðrik and His Boys.

The boy in question, now in his eighties, contacted Guðmundur during his writing of the book, which examines Friðrik’s relationship with the boys, his attraction to them, and other material that could be considered sensitive.

“It’s true, I’m entering somewhat unknown territories, at least compared to what I have written before,” Guðmundur admitted, adding that, at times, he found the process of writing the book uncomfortable: “I admit that at one point it was so uncomfortable that I considered abandoning the project.” He decided to press on, however, noting that anything else would have been cowardice.

Collection of personal letters inspired closer examination

Guðmundur stated that he had discovered 15 letters authored by Friðrik in a collection belonging to banker and entrepreneur Eggert Claessen: “What caught my attention was that they all had the appearance of love letters.” This piqued his interest, given that homosexual love was generally not well documented in the late 19th century.

Deciding to delve deeper into the matter, he was allowed access to the archives of Reverend Friðrik, which was under the custody of the YMCA. “The nature of much of the material, his reminiscences, for example, was such that I was shocked. I was so surprised that they had not garnered greater attention – why none of them had become a public discussion; about how he, for instance, talks about his boys, and boys [in general].” Guðmundur noted that the society in which Friðrik lived and worked was unlikely to discuss matters such as these. “All such matters were just absolutely taboo,” Guðmundur added.

“Shocked” by the allegations

After the interview with Guðmundur was aired, YMCA/YWCA issued a press release, stating that the organisations’ leadership was “shocked by allegations of misconduct by their founder,” Reverend Friðrik, and that they were “committed to uncovering the truth.”

The organisations noted that they had placed special emphasis on the importance of child safety in their operations, requiring rigorous background checks and training for all staff. Lastly, they urged anyone who had experienced harassment or violence within their premises to report it, ensuring a conducive environment for addressing such serious concerns.

YMCA/YWCA Iceland is a non-profit and non-governmental (NGO) youth organisation based on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. It operates five summer camps.

Stígamót spokesperson tells of other victims

Last night, Drífa Snædal, Spokesperson for Stígamót – a centre for survivors of sexual violence that provides free and confidential counselling – was interviewed on the news programme Kastljós. During the interview, Drífa revealed that others had confided in Stígamót’s counsellors because of reverend Friðrik.

“I can attest that more victims, or those related to them, have approached Stígamót,” Drífa observed, adding that she was unable to provide further details regarding the nature of the alleged offences or their timing. “It has kind of touched a nerve,” she remarked. “It’s referred to as ‘the worst kept secret in Icelandic history’ that [reverend Friðrik] abused or assaulted children.”

Drífa added that victims of abuse often seek help at Stígamót later in life. “Far too long, unfortunately, after the offences have occurred … being subjected to such offences as a child can affect the formation of relationships with one’s own children. The formation of normal, good relationships.”

She added that experiences like these can have various effects on others around the victims, for example, their descendants. “Therefore, it is important that people seek help to process difficult experiences as soon as possible.”

Statue on Lækjargata

There is a statue of Reverend Friðrik Friðriksson, flanked by a young boy, on the corner of Amtmannsstígur and Lækjargata in downtown Reykjavík. The statue was sculpted by Sigurjón Ólafsson, who was taught Christian studies as a boy by Friðrik.

As noted on the website of the Reykjavík Art Museum, Sigurjón and Friðrik found themselves stuck in Denmark, during the German occupation of the county in World War II, unable to return to Iceland. Sigurjón crafted a bust of Friðrik in 1943, “before it was too late,” as he said.

“The bust was displayed, along with other portraits by the sculptor, at the Listvinasalur gallery in 1952. Former pupils of the aged clergyman then proposed that an appropriate monument should be erected, for which Sigurjón was the obvious choice.”

New Group to Fight for Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights

Judge's gavel

A new organised interest group for sexual assault survivors was established in Iceland yesterday, RÚV reports. The group will fight for shortened case processing times for sexual offences, which can take over two years, as well as less lenient sentencing for convicted perpetrators. Guðný Bjarnadóttir, a survivor herself, decided to found the group after her own experience of the Icelandic justice system.

“The goal of the group is both to educate and to improve the legal status of victims,” Guðný explains. “As it stands today, sexual assault victims are just witnesses and the scene of the crime. It is very strange that such a case can be processed without the victim coming anywhere near it.” The Icelandic justice system assigns victims of sexual offences the status of witnesses in their own cases, affecting their access to case data, for example. “This is just one of the things that needs to be changed,” Guðný stated.

Guðný has criticised the Icelandic police for their handling of her own sexual offence case, which was eventually dropped. While she pressed charges for the offence three days after it occurred, the police did not call in the accused for questioning until five and a half months later. Then, another two years passed until her case was dismissed. “When you went and pressed charges, I found out that you’re just alone, there’s no one to look after you, through the legal system. And that is just unacceptable.”

No suspended sentences

Along with fighting to shorten procedure times, Guðný says the newly-founded group wants to see an end to suspended sentencing (probation) as a punishment for convicted perpetrators of sexual assault. Suspended sentencing, which is fairly common in the Icelandic justice system, means that although a perpetrator has been convicted and sentenced to serve time in prison, the sentence is suspended on the condition that the defendant does not commit another offence during that time period.

In a related case that made headlines in Iceland lately, a man was convicted of intimate partner violence but was not required to undergo any punishment or rehabilitation.

If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual abuse you can get help by calling 112 or through the 112 webchat. The emergency service in Iceland has a guide to the Icelandic justice system for victims of sexual offences in English.

Sizeable Reduction in the Number of Open Sexual Assault Cases

Metropolitan Police

The number of open sexual offence cases within the sexual offence department of the Capital Area Police and the prosecutor’s office has decreased by 37%. The decrease follows increased funding to strengthen the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences.

Good progress over a brief period

In an announcement today, the Capital Area Police stated that increased funding and more staff had served to expedite the processing of sexual offences. As noted in the announcement, there were 401 open cases on September 1 of last year. That number has now been reduced to 235. At the same time, the office received several new cases; however, during this four-and-a-half month period, the police concluded the investigation of 239 cases.

In an interview with Fréttablaðið today, Halla Bergþóra Björnsdóttir, Chief of Police with the Capital Area Police, stated that it was pleasing to observe such good results in such a short time. “We have not stopped and will continue to look for ways to shorten the procedure time for sexual offences while at the same time ensuring the quality of investigations.”

Halla added that the increased budget had made a significant difference.

“It’s important that we’re measuring our results, which helps us identify bottlenecks. There are many people involved in the handling of these cases at the office. It is and has been our goal to further improve police services within this important field of policing.

Processes reviewed

The increased budget was spent on increasing the number of staff and altering working methods. The announcement notes that methods have been revised with the aim of expediting the investigation of cases. The cooperation between the sexual offence department, on the one hand, and the digital investigation department, on the other, was increased and improved in order to shorten the investigation time of electronic data related to sexual offences.

Furthermore, part of the budget was allocated to bolstering the police’s service department. Finally, a dashboard was introduced to monitor the progress of cases within the sexual offence department and the prosecutor’s office.

Westman Islands Celebration Marred by Offensive Effigy

vestmannaeyjar á þrettándanum

Icelandic journalist, podcaster, and athlete Edda Falak has spoken out against recent racist and misogynistic depictions of her at a holiday celebration in the Westman islands.

The parade in question was organized by the Westman islands municipal council alongside local sports club ÍBV for Þrettándinn, or 12th Night of Christmas. Postponed in recent years by COVID-19 restrictions, the parade traditionally includes playful troll figures, the holiday bearing many associations with folklore and magic.

One troll, however, bore Edda’s misspelled name: Edda Flak.

In the above Twitter post, Edda Falak stated: “This is a very dangerous message. Everyone involved in organizing this event needs to be held accountable and answer for what they plan on doing to fix this disgusting culture of violence that thrives there. This is not humour, this is violence and racism.”

Edda Falak was born to a Lebanese father and Icelandic mother. She has been a key figure in Iceland’s MeToo movement, hosting a podcast where she talks with victims of sexual assault.

Edda made headlines when her story of sexual assault involved a nationally recognized musician. At first unnamed, it later came out that the musician in question was allegedly Ingó, when he sent her a cease and desist order, claiming her statements referred to him. Ingó, a pop singer, is particularly beloved in the Westman islands, where his appearance at the annual music festival there after the allegations caused controversy.

Haraldur Pálsson, manager of sports association ÍBV, made a public statement in which he stated that he was not aware of the effigy in question beforehand. Videos of backstage preparations for the parade, however, clearly show the presence of the offensive effigy in plain sight. When asked if he planned to contact Edda to offer an apology, he stated that he had thought about it, but had not found her number.

The Westman islands’ Twelfth Night Parade traditionally lampoons community figures, but the line between good-natured communal ribbing and bullying and worse is not always clear. Also “satirized” this year was former ÍBV football player Heimir Hallgrímsson, who also coached a Qatari football team for some 2.5 years. In this year’s parade, his likeness appeared in an Arab costume.

Íris Róbertsdóttir, mayor of the Westman islands, has also weighed in on the case. In an interview with Vísir, the mayor said: “I think it is inappropriate to drag the holiday into this in this way, and I have conveyed these comments to the chairman of the ÍBV. I think that the association should not be dragged into such things […] Things that were okay ten years ago are not okay today and we all just have to go along with our changing society. This was just very inappropriate.”

As of yesterday, January 8, Edda Falak has stated on social media that no one has offered her an apology for the incident.

Former Minister Jón Baldvin Sentenced in Sexual Harassment Case

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, former government minister and diplomat, has received a suspended sentence of two months’ imprisonment in a sexual harassment case related to an incident that took place at his home in Granada, Spain in 2018, Vísir reports. The Landsréttur Court of Appeals also ordered him to pay all court and appeal costs related to the case. Jón Baldvin’s defense attorney has said that an application will be made to the Supreme Court requesting the right to appeal the judgement.

An acquittal

The sexual harassment charges were first brought against Jón Baldvin in 2019, when Carmen Jóhannsdóttir accused him of having groped her buttocks during a dinner party in Granada the year before.

Resolution on the case was long delayed, however, in part because the Reykjavík District Court repeatedly dismissed it because the incident took place in Spain and was therefore not, the court contended, under its jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals overturned this dismissal on technical grounds: over four weeks had passed between the oral presentation of the call to stop the case and the court’s decision to throw the case out. As such, the District Court was forced to reopen the case.

Competing witness testimony also came into play. Carmen’s mother, Laufey Ósk Arnorsdóttir, was also in attendance at the party in 2018 and testified that she witnessed Jón Baldvin groping her daughter. The District Court rejected Laufey’s testimony, saying it did not correspond to Carmen’s version of events. Instead, it accepted the testimony of Jón Baldvin’s wife Bryndís Schram and a neighbor, who corroborated his version of events. The Reykjavík District Court finally ruled on the case in August 2021 and Jón Baldvin was acquitted of the charges.

A conviction

The case was then taken up again by the Court of Appeals, with the District Attorney seeking a suspended sentence of two to three months for Jón Baldvin. Carmen Jóhannsdóttir also sought damages totaling ISK one million [$7,086; €6,725]. Carmen’s claim for damages was rejected, but the Court of Appeals granted the DA’s suspended sentence of two months.

In its decision, the Court of Appeals stated that Carmen’s account of the incident was credible, and was, in fact, supported by that of her mother. It was the Court’s opinion that these testimonies outweighed Jón Baldvin’s denial.

A long history of accusations

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson was an MP for the Social Democratic Party, serving as Minister of Finance from 1987 to 1988 and Foreign Affairs Minister from 1988 to 1995. Following his time in parliament, he served as a diplomat, first to the US and Mexico from 1998 to 2002, and then to the Baltics from 2002 to 2005.

He has faced repeated accusations of sexual harassment and impropriety throughout his career, dating all the way back to 1967 when he was a teacher at an elementary school. In 2012, it was revealed that Jón Baldvin had sent his wife’s niece Guðrún Harðardóttir sexually explicit letters starting when she was 14 years old. Jón Baldvin denied that he sexually harassed Guðrún, but apologised for what he called a “lapse of judgement” in initiating the correspondence. Guðrún attempted to press charges against Jón Baldvin, but police dropped the case.

See Also: Former Minister Accused of Sexual Harassment Over 50-Year Period

In 2013, Jón Baldvin was invited to be a guest lecturer at the University of Iceland. When objections ensued, the university withdrew the invitation. Jón Baldvin protested the decision and threatened to take legal action, upon which the university agreed to pay him ISK 500,000 [$3,542; €3,361] in compensation and publicly apologised for how they handled the matter.

In 2019, Stundin published interviews with four women, including Carmen Jóhannsdóttir, in which each described incidents of sexual harassment by Jón Baldvin. A Facebook group called #metoo Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson was formed around the same time, and at least 12 women used the platform to share accounts of sexual harassment at the hands of the former politician.

In the face of all these incidents, however, Jón Baldvin has maintained his utmost innocence. He called Carmen’s charge “pure fabrication” and stated it was part of “a coordinated attack on my reputation.”

‘It hasn’t been an easy journey, but today, it all became worth it’

Carmen was abroad at the time that the Court of Appeals published its decision, but she spoke to reporters after she’d had some time to process the news. “This is very much a cause for celebration,” she said. “I know it’s not a heavy sentence, but it’s just the fact that he’s been sentenced at all. I didn’t expect it, to be perfectly honest, but I’m really happy about it.”

“It’s been a long process and of course, there’s already been one ruling on it. But I have to say that I’m really happy about this. I’m happy about this victory—not just for me, but also for everyone who’s been subjected to abuse at the hands of Jón Baldvin.”

“Hopefully, this will set a precedent for other judges and lawyers,” continued Carmen. “And also just for people who haven’t had the desire or ability to claim their rights—that it’s worth it, even if it’s hard. I’ll absolutely admit that it hasn’t been an easy journey, but today, it all became worth it.”

Increased Legal Rights for Victims of Sexual Assault in Iceland

Héraðsdómur Reykjavíkur Reykjavík District Court

Victims of sexual assault in Iceland can now receive information on the proceedings of the police investigation of their case and are permitted to be present at the trial, thanks to legislative amendments passed by Parliament, RÚV reports. A spokesperson from Stígamót, a centre for survivors of sexual violence, says the changes are a step forward but more needs to be done.

“I think this is a turning point and shows that there is will within the system towards victims of violence and there is a strong need for that. As we know, many cases are dismissed and victims are often unhappy with how they are received in the legal system and feel their need for justice is not fulfilled,” Steinunn Gyðu- og Guðjónsdóttir, a spokesperson for Stígamót, stated.

Victims defined as witnesses in their case

Icelandic legislation concerning sexual assault cases is structured in such a way that the victims in such cases are categorised as witnesses rather than parties to the case. This means they have little to no access to information concerning the proceedings of their case and may not be present at court proceedings. Experts and activists have been vocal in their criticism of this system, which was evaluated as lagging being most other Nordic countries when it comes to protecting victims’ rights.

The amendments change victims’ status in their case in several ways. Firstly, they may be present in closed court proceedings concerning their cases or watch them through a stream in the courthouse. Victims also receive increased access to the data of their case during the investigation and their legal rights protector (a lawyer assigned to protect their interests) is permitted to question those who are brought before the court.

Authorities also have additional responsibilities thanks to the amendments, including to inform the victim if a ruling has been made concerning the accused or if the accused has been released from custody.

Length of proceedings is next challenge to tackle

The bill has undergone considerable changes since it was first introduced last year. Steinunn is pleased the voices of Stígamót and the women’s movement have been heeded, but is disappointed that victims are still defined as witnesses in their own cases. This continues to limit their legal rights: they cannot, for example, sue the state if a mistake has been made in their case.

“As we have been seeing in the Court of Appeal, sentences are often being lightened because of how long the investigation has taken but victims do not receive such compensation.”

The procedural time for sexual assault cases can be up to a year and half with the police and just as long once they are in the hands of the prosecution. “The system really needs an injection of manpower and funding to fix that,” Steinunn stated. “This is just the legal status. Now the implementation needs to be fixed.”

“Is Everything Alright?”

is everything alright

Iceland’s Justice Minister, National Police Commissioner, and Emergency Response Service 112 launched a sexual assault prevention campaign today, with the first phase specifically aimed at nightclubs. The campaign asks the public to be on the lookout for violence when taking part in nightlife, ask “Is everything alright?” if they suspect it may not be, and call 112 if necessary. Some locals have criticised the campaign for focusing on bystanders rather than the perpetrators of sexual offences.

Decrease in reported rapes during periods of social restrictions

A press release from the campaign states that reports of rape decreased by 43% in 2020, a statistic authorities relate to the social restrictions that were in place that year, closing bars and nightclubs for some periods and limiting their operational hours during others. According to the Police Commissioner’s Office, a large proportion of reported rapes take place between Friday and Sunday, between the hours of midnight and 6:00 AM. While the police registered 114 cases of rape in 2020, the average number between 2017 and 2019 was 201. Reports increased once more when restrictions were relaxed in 2021. “Changes to restrictions therefore had a clear impact on the frequency of rape,” the press release states.

“I have emphasised that in order to reduce sexual offences, we need to mobilise all of society. We must all be vigilant and our responsibility to eradicate this evil in Icelandic society cannot be ignored,” Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson stated. “Our experience throughout the pandemic shows that rape and other forms of violence are not inevitable. We all want a life without infection prevention restrictions again but we also want a life without violence. To that end, we are raising awareness about sexual assault.”

“Educate perpetrators”

Some locals have criticised the campaign for not placing responsibility on the perpetrators of sexual assault. “Seems at first glance that this is yet another campaign where the responsibility is shifted to everyone other than the perpetrators,” one Icelandic woman tweeted. “This is so ridiculous,” another wrote. “Almost as ridiculous as when the Icelandic Travel Industry Association launched the project ‘Protection against prostitution’. Put the money into something useful. Educate perpetrators. Don’t place the responsibility on victims or bystanders.”

Jón Gunnarsson and his assistant Brynjar Níelsson have previously been criticised for their voting record on women’s issues. MP and Reform Party Chairperson stated last December that she did not trust the two when it came to supporting issues of gender equality.

Icelandic Business Executives Resign Following Sexual Assault Allegations

vitalia lazareva eigin konur

Several prominent businessmen and a famous media personality have been let go, resigned from their positions, or gone on leave following allegations of sexual assault from a young woman, RÚV reports. In an interview on the podcast Eigin konur last January 4, 24-year-old Vitalia Lazareva stated she was sexually assaulted by three men in a hot tub last December 2020, friends of her lover at the time, Arnar Grant.

While Vitalia did not name the men in the interview, she did so on social media. They include Þórður Már Jóhannesson, who has since resigned from his position as chairman of the board of Festi hf., Iceland’s fourth-largest company. Another of the men, Ari Edwald, was first asked to take leave, but was later fired from his position as CEO of Ísey Export, a daughter company of MS Iceland Dairies. Company representatives stated they had “unspecific” information about Ari’s involvement in the alleged incident since October 2021. He was not asked to take leave or fired until after Vitalia’s January 4 interview.

Hreggviður Jónsson, founder and primary owner of Veritas Capital ehf., resigned from the company’s board after being named in the allegations. In a statement sent to Icelandic media, Hreggviður wrote he regretted “not stepping out of the situation” but added that he did not break any laws. Þórður Már and Ari Edwald have not commented on the allegations.

In a separate incident that Vitalia described in the interview, Arnar pressured her to perform sexual acts with Icelandic media personality Logi Bergmann after he walked in on the pair together. Logi has denied the accusations in a Facebook post though he admitted to “going into a room I shouldn’t have gone into,” calling his actions “tactless and shameful.” He has also announced he would go on leave from his position.

Case could impact future generations

Professor of Sociology Ingólfur V. Gíslason says Vitalia’s case is among the most important to have occurred in Iceland in the past several decades when it comes to the status of men and women. Ingólfur says the MeToo movement has caused societal changes in Iceland. “The follow-up of what just happened there and that all of the perpetrators, or those who were indicated, have to step down. That is very significant. These are not just some unknown men who are accused,” he stated. According to Ingólfur, survivors who speak out are not looking for revenge, rather acknowledgement and apologies. 

He added that he hopes the incident will impact future generations in Iceland. “The most serious problem in the relationship and status of men and women in Iceland is the violence that women have had to suffer at the hands of men. It’s not until we stop that and make society as safe for women as for men that we can truly hope there will be equality in Iceland.”

Sexual-Assault Victims Can Now Monitor Their Cases Online

Metropolitan Police

Yesterday, the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police introduced a new online gateway that will allow victims of sexual assault to access information regarding their cases, Vísir reports. Nearly four hundred such cases are being investigated by the police. There’s long been an appeal for improved service, says the Chief of Police.

A majority have complained of insufficient information

A new service gateway will afford victims of sexual assault who have pressed charges to the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police access to information relating to their cases. The gateway will also offer information regarding available resources and services. Halla Bergþóra Björnsdóttir, Chief of Police, compares the new online resource to Heilsuvera.is: a website that offers educational material relating to diseases, preventive measures, and preemptive strategies “toward a better and more healthful life.”

Speaking to Vísir.is, Halla Bergþóra explained that the new gateway will keep complainants updated on the status of cases, whether or not their cases are being investigated, and if they’ve been handed over to prosecutors. “There is also information regarding what you may expect, in terms of an outcome and how long the investigation is expected to take.”

“We’ve conducted numerous surveys among victims of sexual assault,” Halla Bergþóra continued. “75% of respondents are pleased with the service that the police provides, but at the same time, 88% have complained that they didn’t receive adequate information regarding the processing of their cases.”

The service gateway is an experimental project that in its initial iteration will only be available to victims of sexual assault in the Greater Reykjavík Area. According to Halla Bergþóra, the aim is to offer the same service in other jurisdictions and in other crime categories in the near future.

“If all goes well, we hope to provide a similar service to individuals who have pressed charges in other categories of the law, as well.”

With increased cases, increased processing time

As noted by Halla Bergþóra, the investigative phase of sexual assault cases are often time consuming; the processing time has lengthened as cases have increased and as the police authorities aim to improve the quality of investigations. The authorities are also short on staff. In light of this, Halla explained, it’s important to allow victims of sexual assault to monitor the status of their cases.

“There are 255 sexual assault cases currently being investigated. And then we have the prosecutorial department, and other departments, so I think there are about 370 cases in total.

The gateway can be accessed here.