Politics, Europe

Spain reports ‘alarming’ surge in youth crime

One of most worrying issues is 45% jump in sexual aggression charges in 2022 compared to year prior, State Attorney General's Office says in report

Alyssa Mcmurtry  | 07.09.2023 - Update : 07.09.2023
Spain reports ‘alarming’ surge in youth crime


Spain’s State Attorney General's Office warned of an “alarming” increase in crimes committed by youth in an annual report released on Thursday.

Spanish attorneys described a "criminal explosion" among minors nationwide, emphasizing the urgent need for better education and stricter regulation of weapon access for youths.

One of the most worrying issues, according to the report, is a 45% jump in sexual aggression charges in 2022 compared to the year prior. Since 2017, such charges have surged by 116%, but that may also have to do with encouraging the reporting of these crimes.

Yet, many attorneys across Spain pointed to a “wave of attacks on sexual freedom” committed by young men. They stressed the importance of limiting youths' access to violent explicit content that may distort their understanding of normal relations.

Meanwhile, the report also warned of a rise in inter-family violence, technology-driven bullying, and a 15% uptick in youth-perpetrated homicides.

The report highlighted the risk of trivializing crimes committed by youth and blamed the crime surge on “the rise of all kinds of violent and identity-based youth groups and gangs… that are proliferating not only in big cities but also in small and medium-sized towns.”

It also emphasized the case of youth groups organizing clandestine street fights in Malaga. “This shows a sheer disregard for personal and others’ well-being and should lead us to reflect on the lack of minimum ethical values being implemented in some youth segments,” says the report.

While presenting the report at the opening ceremony of the judicial year, State Attorney General Alvaro García Ortiz sharply criticized those who dismiss gender-based violence.

“The data is irrefutable. From 2009 to 2022, there were two million complaints filed. Denialist narratives directly influence women’s safety,” he added, referring to gender-based violence across all age groups.

In 2022 alone, 50 women in Spain were fatally assaulted by their current or former partners, and another 35 narrowly escaped murder attempts. This marks a 66% increase from the preceding year.

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