Sexual violence reports up almost 20% in Catalonia in first 4 months of 2023
Mossos d'Esquadra police attended to 1,487 victims and arrested or investigated around a thousand offenders
The number of reports to the police over sexual violence increased by almost 20% in Catalonia in the first four months of 2023 compared to the same period the previous year.
The Catalan police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, attended to a total of 1,487 victims between January and April, 38% of whom were minors, and arrested or investigated around a thousand offenders, 12.3% of whom were minors.
There were 13 incidents of drug-facilitated sexual assault, 1% of the total, and 58 incidents of group assaults, 4% of the total.
In a majority of sexual assaults, 60%, the attacker was known to the victim, and the assault took place in an environment that the victim considered to be a safe space, according to Montserrat Escudé, police spokesperson and head of citizen safety.
Up to 90% of cases unreported
In 2022, reports of sexual violence increased by 10% compared to 2021, from 3,387 to 3,725, with a further increase of 19% in the first four months of this year.
The real number of cases, however, is much higher still. There is a "high hidden figure" of cases go unreported, "around 70 to 90%," Escudé explained.
180 sexual assaults in nightlife settings
The data presented on Wednesday comes from information gathered from the launch of an action plan against sexual violence in leisure environments (bars, clubs etc.), launched last June 7, which police say has given greater visibility to the problem of sexual violence and increased the confidence of victims.
During the first four months of the year, a total of 180 cases were reported in nightlife settings, representing 14% of all sexual violence recorded in Catalonia.
According to the Mossos, most sexual assaults in nightlife settings were opportunistic and involved groping or unwanted touching. Officers identified 99 perpetrators, of which 3 had previous records for sexual offences.
86% of assaults took place in nightclubs or venues, 21% on the street and 19% in homes. In 29% of 180 incidents, the victim was in a vulnerable situation due to the consumption of alcohol, drugs or medicines.
Women almost 9 out of 10 victims
Of the 1,487 victims, 87.8% were women and 12.2% were men.
Minors represented 38% of the total number of victims: a total of 16% aged 0-12 and 22% aged 13-17.
Of the 1,000 or so perpetrators arrested or investigated, 95% were men and 5% women. 12.3% were minors, a fall of 3% compared to the same period the previous year.
31% of cases involve partner or family member
In 31% of cases reported, the offender was the victim's partner or another family member, something Escudé drew attention to: "Sexual assaults in recreational settings represent only 14% of all cases, for example, while sexual assaults committed within the family or among partners account for 31%."
During the first four months of this year, 278 incidents of gender-based violence and 110 of domestic violence were recorded. Figures show that 93.5% of the perpetrators were adults and 41% had a criminal record.