Young men, violence and masculinity

Young males are significantly more often involved in various types of violent incidents than young females. The Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society has been instructed by the government to work to prevent exposure to violence and the use of violence among boys and young men.

Illustration. Kille i hoodie.

This is what we do

The Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society has had the task of preventing boys’ and young men’s exposure to violence and their use of violence. We have done this by means of educational programmes and seminars on young people’s violence. We have had a particular focus on violence against LGBTQ-persons, sexualised violence, masculinity, and violence in intimate relationships.

Violence is part of everyday life for children and young people

In the report Young people and violence – an analysis of masculinity and prevention work, we have examined the values held by young people in relation to gender equality, masculinity and violence.

Young males are significantly more often involved in various types of violent incidents than young females. Of all those registered as suspects for assault offences in 2011, almost half – 46 percent – were young males aged between 15 and 29 years. One in five of the registered suspects was a teenager.

The most recent edition of the Swedish Crime Survey, conducted by the government agency the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, shows that of those aged between 16 and 24 years:

  • 8.9 percent of the males and 4.8 percent of the females were exposed to assault in 2011,
  • 3.4 percent of the females and 0.5 percent of the males were exposed to sexual offences during the same year.

Young people are also exposed to hate crimes to a substantial extent, one-third (33 percent) of those who were exposed to hate crimes between 2008 and 2010 were aged between 16 and 24. The proportion is even larger for homophobic hate crimes, where 41 percent of the victims were aged 16–24. A strikingly large proportion of those suspected of homophobic hate crimes are young males.

The risk of having engaged in a violent or abusive act increases by 3.2 times among males who agree with stereotyped statements about both sex roles and about masculinity and femininity.