In this unique study coordinated by Dr Svein Mossige, Dr Carl-Göran Svedin and Dr Mare Ainsaar, 20 000 young persons around 18 years of age, in six different countries participated. They have responded to questions on what kind of experiences they have of their families, themselves, of voluntary sexual relations and of sexually abusive relations.
What experiences do young people have when it comes to sexual offences and sexual abuse? Is exchange of sex for payment uncommon among young people? Do adolescents agree with attitudes that promote sexual offences? What are the prevalence rates of sexual offences and sexual abuse? What experiences, problems, and attitudes do sexual offenders report?
These are the main questions on which this survey is based. The respondents amount to about 20 000 adolescents, divided between the following six countries in the Baltic Sea Area: Estonia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and North-West Russia. Some of the countries are considerably different when it comes to social welfare systems, religion, and culture. Such discrepancies allow for interesting comparisons in the field of sexuality, sexual offence, and sexual abuse.
The respondents are in their late teens, the majority about 18 years old. At this age most people have developed a sexual identity, and most people have had sexual experiences. Some respondents may even be sexual offenders. Due to the young age of the respondents, memories of sexual offences or sexual abuse are less likely to be distorted.
The report presents some of the findings. Each country is presented separately. On some dimensions the countries turn out to be quite similar. In the area of sexual offences and sexual abuse, though, there are som important variations. The differences indicate that social conditions, culture, and religion impact both the experiences and the attitudes of young people.