Fatal intimate partner violence against women decreased by an average of 1.7 percent per year between 1990 and 2017. But violence against young women up to the age of 25 remains at the same level, according to the report written by Shilan Caman, KI, and Sara Skott, Mid Sweden University, on behalf of the Swedish Gender Equality Agency.

The report is based on data from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå).

Invisible Group

Intimate partner violence against younger women is an area that has not been researched much. The youngest victim in the report was 15 years old. The majority of victims of fatal intimate partner violence among young people are women in heterosexual relationships, 97 per cent, so the opposite is extremely rare.

"It's a group that hasn't really been made visible. I think the reason may be that we have focused too much on violence in adult relationships," says Shilan Caman, researcher at Karolinska Institutet and the Swedish Police Authority.

There are three main factors that distinguish violence against this group up to the age of 25 from violence against women aged 26 and over.

"It is more common for lethal partner violence against young women to be motivated by separation, more common for girls to be killed by strangulation violence and more common for it to involve drug use – including drugs – by the perpetrator," concludes Shilan Caman.

Pointing out risk factors

The purpose of the report is to increase knowledge about the warning signs and risk factors of intimate partner violence against women within the age group, in order to be able to detect and prevent the violence.

"They have limited experiences of intimate and romantic relationships, which can make them more vulnerable. They find it more difficult to navigate what is okay or criminal in a relationship. They are also in a developmental phase where they develop cognitively and psychosocially, and there is an increased risk of this being repeated in adulthood for both victims and perpetrators," says Shilan Caman.

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – see pictures from demonstrations around the world in the clip above.