• Switzerland's news in English

Sexual abuse on the rise among Swiss teens

Meritxell Mir · 16 Jan 2012, 11:55

Published: 16 Jan 2012 12:37 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Jan 2012 11:55 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In 2010, 24 percent of all defendants in cases involving sex crimes were minors themselves, police statistics show.

But experts from hospitals and lobby organisations say the number of cases in which the abuser is underaged is actually much higher, since this kind of crime is often not reported to the police.

“Only a small proportion of perpetrators will be prosecuted,” said Ulrich Lips, head of the Child Protection Group at Zurich children’s hospital, to SonntagsZeitung.

In his view, between 30 and 45 percent of sexual assaults over the last five years have involved minors as both victim and perpetrator.

Police crime statistics support experts’ testimonies, with the proportion of suspected underage offenders rising in 2009 and 2010, reports SonntagsZeitung.

Child protection specialists, both from hospitals and lobby organisations, are alarmed by the increasing number of assaults on children committed by other minors. And many still go unreported, since young people talk more with their peers about these incidents than with adults, and are often unaware that aspects of their behaviour may count as criminal acts.

The Swiss Foundation for the Protection of Children criticises the lack of accurate figures.

“In children’s hospitals, the police deal with certain [abuses], and counselling services with others,” said the head of the organisation, Kathie Wiederkehr.

Story continues below…

A failure to gather statistics more effectively has made it difficult to know the full extent of the problem and therefore raise awareness among politicians, public authorities and the police, she said.

To aid in raising awareness, Social Democrat national councillor Chantal Galladé wants to create a special database to quantify the incidence of child abuse in Switzerland, and intends to take the issue to the National Council in the spring.

Meritxell Mir (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Brothers go to court to stop suicide of sibling
File photo: Lisa Edmonds

Two men have filed a legal bid to prevent the Swiss assisted suicide association Exit from helping their older brother to kill himself.

Wawrinka snubs past form to reach Basel second round
Wawrinka beat local wildcard Marco Chiudinelli. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has reached the second round in Basel after going out in the first round for the past four years.

Villagers asked to help fund bridge renovations
The bridge links the two villages of Veltheim (pictured) and Holderbank. Photo: Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht

The crowdfunding campaign by the two communes is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

‘Scary clown’ craze hits streets of Zurich
Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Police in Zurich have warned so-called ‘scary clowns’ that they could face charges, following a number of incidents in the city.

VIDEO: driver chases runaway car on Swiss motorway
Image: Neuchâtel police

Shocking footage shows the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a Swiss motorway.

Saas-Fee crowdfunds low-cost season ski pass
Saas-Fee is hoping to attract 99,999 season pass holders. Photo: Denis Emery/Photo-genic.ch

Skiers could get their hands on a whole season pass for just 222 francs ($223) in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee this winter – if enough people want one.

Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
jobs available