Sweden debates hitting men with domestic violence tax
October 6, 2004
Swedish politicians are proposing to hit men with a domestic violence tax to cover the costs to society of abuse against women.
Sweden's parliament was expected to open debate yesterday on the Left Party's proposal. It follows an Amnesty International report that found violence against women increased almost 40 per cent during the 1990s and that up to 40 women are battered to death in Sweden each year.
"It must be clear to all we have a gigantic social problem and cost in men's violence towards women and we must discuss how we are going to pay for it," said Gudrun Schyman, the party's former leader and one of several female MPs who have signed the motion.
The Left Party says the idea of men collectively paying for the social costs of violence towards women is similar to the principle of poor people paying less tax than the rich.
The party, which has 30 members in the 349-seat Swedish parliament, supports the Social Democratic minority Government, giving it enough votes to muster a majority. In order to gauge what the tax should be, it is proposing to appoint a taskforce to establish the cost of treating victims of domestic violence.
The Left Party motion, tabled by the party's feminist council, of which Ms Schyman is a member, is unlikely to win a majority. Female members account for 45 per cent of the parliament, the highest proportion of women in any legislature in the world.
In 2003, 22,400 cases of violence against women were reported to police, but the country's Council for Crime Prevention said the number could be higher because many women do not report abuse.
The Telegraph, London