Immigrants Overrepresented in Sex Crime Statistics, Finnish Gov't Study Finds
Whereas the report highlighted low social status and social deprivation as the underlying factors, they described sexual crimes as a sum of many factors, stressing that none alone may serve as an explanation.
The share of foreign-born people in sexual offence statistics has increased in recent years, according to a recent study commissioned by the Sanna Marin government.
In their fresh 148-page study based on previous research, registers, juvenile delinquency surveys, and interview material, the Finnish Youth Research Network and the University of Helsinki's Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy (Krimo) examined the risks related to the background of sex offenders and the factors influencing the occurrence of sexual offences.
It was established that in 2020, nearly 38 percent of rape suspects in Finland were foreign-born, who only make up 7 percent of the Finnish population (at 367,000 first-generation immigrants in a country of 5.5 million).
The study additionally established that people born abroad were overrepresented in child sexual abuse statistics as well. Furthermore, the proportion of foreign-born individuals among child sexual abuse suspects has risen even more sharply in recent years, reaching 24 percent in 2019.
From 2011 to 2020, 27 percent of all rape suspects were foreign-born. The corresponding figure for those suspected of child sexual abuse was 15 percent. By contrast, the share of second-generation immigrants born in Finland was more consistent with their share of the population of over 1 percent.
In terms of the factors influencing this behaviour, the authors of the study highlighted low social status and social deprivation, as is the case with crime in general. Perpetrators often target people who are intoxicated or otherwise vulnerable, the study said. It was also noted that the sexual exploitation of children is primarily a crime committed by young men, in which minors are also a significant group of perpetrators. At the same time, it was emphasised that social disadvantage alone cannot explain the overrepresentation of immigrants.
The report also highlighted individual risk factors such as mental illness, the use of intoxicants, antisocial behaviour, and a previous criminal past.
"To be able to prevent sexual crimes effectively, we need to understand the risk factors and behavioural patterns associated with those who commit the crimes", researcher Teemu Vauhkonen of the Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy concluded in a statement.
According to the experts interviewed in the study, no single factor alone explains sexual crime, which is always the sum of many factors. For instance, perpetrators are often bad at solving problems, impulsive, have issues with regulating emotions, and poor self-esteem, the report stressed.