In the majority of crimes involving the violation of sexual integrity, the victims are women and children.
Violence in couple relationships
Over half the cases reported to victim support centres are related to violence within the family. Moreover, the cases registered by the police or victim support centres represent only a proportion of the total number of actual violent incidents. In recent years, significant advances have been made in combating domestic violence, both in terms of legislation and in actual practice. For instance, revisions of various articles of the Swiss Penal Code came into force in 2004 which made sexual coercion and rape within marriage criminal offences that require prosecution (no need for application by the victim).Simple bodily injury, repeated violence and threatening behaviour within couple relationships are now also prosecuted ex officio. In order to intercede more effectively in cases of domestic violence and better protect victims, virtually all cantons have now revised their police laws and criminal procedures or have enacted specific laws on protection against violence.
Violence against women and girls takes many forms. There are also women and girls living in Switzerland who have suffered female genital mutilation or whose physical and psychological well-being are threatened by this practice. Alongside preventative and child protection measures, explicit criminal prohibitions, such as are currently planned in Switzerland, are useful for protecting core rights such as the right to sexual integrity.
Forced marriage also constitutes an infringement of personal and sexual integrity. Here again legal remedies and other measures such as awareness-raising and disseminating information are necessary in order to provide effective protection for women and girls.