Three out of four sanctioned are men
There has been a decrease in many types of penal sanctions over the last ten years. The share of men among those sanctioned has also fallen, but the large majority are still men.
In 2016, 291 000 penal sanctions were registered. In total, 260 000 persons were sanctioned during the year, of which 75 per cent were men, according to new figures from the statistics on sanctions. However, the gender distribution varies with type of offence committed and type of sanction.
Relatively many women receive on-the-spot fines
On-the-spot fines make up the large majority of penal sanctions, as shown in figure 1. In 2016, almost 199 000 on-the-spot fines were issued for road traffic offences and 18 600 for smuggling. After several years with a decrease, there was a slight increase in the number of on-the-spot fines from 2015 to 2016, by 1.5 per cent.
The share of women among those receiving on-the-spot fines is high compared to other sanctions, and has increased over time, from 23 per cent in 2006 to 26 per cent in 2016. The extensive scope of this type of sanction means it is crucial for the total gender distribution in these statistics.
Figure 1. Sanctions by type of sanction. 1960-2016
|Ticket fine and on the spot fine||On the spot fine||Ticket fine||Other types of sanctions|
In addition to on-the-spot fines, the Norwegian Prosecuting Authority imposed almost 50 600 ticket fines and granted 3 300 conditional waivers of prosecution in 2016. There has been a decrease in the number of ticket fines in the period 2006-2016, while the number of conditional wavers of prosecution in 2016 is about the same level as the last three years, after several years with an increase.
When on-the-spot fines are excluded, the share of sanctions given to women is only 16 per cent.
Decrease over time for many types of sanctions by court
Over the last ten years there has been a downward trend in the number of registered penal sanctions given out by court. In 2016, there were 19 900 sentences, which is 17 per cent less than in 2006. Fines, community sentences and conditional imprisonment in particular have shown a large decrease, by around 30 per cent from 2006 to 2016.
1 From 2014 Juvenile sanctions are included in Special santion or other type of sanction.
Figure 2. Sanctions, by selected types of sancions
|Special sanction or other type of sanction¹||69||94||64||73||74||69||56||52||56||66||56||45||67||93||109|
While there has been a decrease in other types of court decisions, the number of unconditional imprisonment sentences has been relatively stable throughout the decade. As the number of penal sanctions in total has gone down, the share of unconditional imprisonment sentences has increased. Unconditional imprisonment sentences were given out in 53 per cent of all court sanctions registered in 2016.
More women are subject to unconditional imprisonment
Of the penal sanctions given out by a court in 2016, just over 13 per cent were issued to women. For most types of sanctions, there was an increase in the share given to women during the period 2006-2016. The number of sanctions fell for both genders in the period, but slightly more for men than for women, leading to a corresponding change in the gender distribution.
For unconditional imprisonment, the number of sentences given to women increased by 37 per cent in the period 2006-2016. With the exception of the youngest women, there is an increase among all age groups during the period, and the share of unconditional prison sentences given to women in 2016 was highest among the 40-49-year olds (14 per cent). This is also reflected in the prison statistics. Nevertheless, almost nine out of ten unconditional prison sentences are given to men.
Figure 3. Proportion of women for selected types of sanctions
|On the spot fine||19.7378||20.7820||22.2423||22.9453||23.3496||23.3631||24.2629||25.1299||25.2511||25.4622||25.6670||25.9153||26.4550||26.3263||26.1777|
For unconditional imprisonment, the share of women is lowest in the age group 15-17 years. Of the less than 50 unconditional prison sentences given to 15-17-year-olds registered in 2015 and 2016, only 4 per cent were handed down to women. Juvenile sentence is an alternative to unconditional imprisonment for offenders under the age of 18, and of the 113 juvenile sentences registered in 2015 and 2016 only 5 per cent were given to women.
Most sanctions for traffic and drugs
The type of offence committed determines the type of sanction given and the judicial authority that decides the sanction. Even when on-the-spot fines are excluded, 23 300 sanctions where a traffic offence was the principal offence were registered in 2016, most of which were ticket fines issued by the Prosecuting Authority. Both the courts and the Prosecuting Authority impose a large number of sanctions for drug and alcohol offences. These made up 41 per cent of all sanctions handed down by the courts in 2016.
For sanctions with violence and maltreatment or sexual offences as the principal offence, it is the courts that decides most cases, as shown in figure 4. These are groups of offences with relatively few sanctions, but with more offences that are aggravated. Unconditional imprisonment is given in 40 per cent of the sanctions where violence and maltreatment or sexual offences are the principal offence.
Figure 4. Sanctions exept on the spot fine, by group of principal offence and judical authority. 2016
|Prosecuting authority||Court of justice|
|Other offences for profit||2595||2461|
|Violence and maltreatment||2200||3681|
|Public order and integrity violations||8402||1270|
|Drug and alcohol offences||11892||8068|
Women more often punished for less serious crimes
The most common type of offence committed varies according to different demographic characteristics, such as age, sex and place of residence. In terms of gender distribution, the share of offences committed by women is generally higher for less serious offences, and the share decreases with the severity of the offence. For example, 42 per cent of sanctions for petty theft were given to women, compared to 12 per cent of sanctions for aggravated theft in 2016.
Although the share of women has increased over time for many types of offences, women did not receive more sanctions than men for any type of principal offence in 2016. In addition to petty theft, the types of offences with the highest share of female offenders are embezzlement and ID offences, with over 40 per cent. Of the main groups of principal offences, the female share is highest for property theft (32 per cent). The lowest female share is found in the sexual offence groups (1 per cent), criminal damage (10 per cent), and public order and integrity violations (11 per cent).