Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape against women or men (the statute is gender neutral), including spousal rape, and domestic violence. Penalties for rape include imprisonment for up to 12 years. The government effectively prosecuted persons accused of rape.
Faroese law criminalizes rape with penalties of up to 12 years. The law considers nonconsensual sex with a victim in a “helpless state” to be sexual abuse rather than rape. In certain instances it also reduces the level of penalty for rape and sexual violence within marriage.
Greenlandic law criminalizes rape but reduces the penalty for rape and sexual violence within marriage. Persons convicted of rape in Greenland typically receive a prison sentence of 18 months.
In February, UN Women reported approximately 32 percent of women in the kingdom experienced domestic violence in the course of their lifetime.
The government and NGOs operated 24-hour hotlines, counseling centers, and shelters for female survivors of violence. The royal family supported a variety of NGOs that worked to improve conditions and services at shelters and to assist families afflicted with domestic violence.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment and provides that authorities may order a perpetrator or an employer who allowed or failed to prevent an incident of harassment to pay monetary compensation to victims. The law considers it an unsafe labor condition and gives labor unions or the Equal Treatment Board the responsibility of to resolve it. The government enforced the law effectively. Beginning in January a Ministry of Justice directive permits the director of the National Police to issue expedited restraining orders against accused stalkers or harassers in order to protect their victims from further harassment.
A 2016 report from the Danish Labor Rights think-tank found that 5 percent of women reported being sexually harassed in the workplace during the previous year.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion, involuntary sterilization, or other coercive population control methods. Estimates on maternal mortality and contraceptive prevalence are available at: www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/monitoring/maternal-mortality-2015/en/ .
Discrimination: Women have the same legal status and rights as men, including under family, labor, property, nationality, and inheritance laws. Little discrimination was reported in employment, ownership and management of businesses, or access to credit, education, or housing.
Birth Registration: Most children acquire citizenship from their parents. Stateless persons and certain persons born in the country to noncitizens may acquire citizenship by naturalization, provided, in most cases, that they apply for citizenship before their 21st birthday. The law requires medical practitioners to register promptly the births of children they deliver, and they generally did so.
Child Abuse: The National Police and Public Prosecutor’s Office actively investigated child abuse cases. In 2016 authorities in Denmark received 116 reports of rape involving a child 12 years and younger as well as 185 reports of sexual intercourse with a child 15 years and younger. In the same year, authorities received 178 reports of sexual relations with a child 12 years and younger and 137 reports of sexual relations with a child 15 years and younger.
In Greenland child abuse and neglect remained a significant problem. According to the DIHR’s most recent statistics, approximately 11 percent of sexual assaults in Greenland were committed against victims under the age of 15. A study by the Danish National Center for Social Research commissioned by the Greenlandic government and published in 2015 reported that every other woman and every third man experienced sexual contact with an adult before they turned 15.
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age for marriage is 18.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law prohibits the commercial sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. The government generally enforced these laws. In 2016 authorities prosecuted 133 cases of child pornography, up from 110 cases in 2015. The minimum age for consensual sexual activity is 15. The purchase of sexual services from a person under the age of 18 is illegal.
Displaced Children: The government considered refugees and migrants who were unaccompanied minors as vulnerable, and the law includes special rules regarding them. A personal representative is appointed for all unaccompanied children who seek asylum or who stay in the country without permission (see section 2.d.).
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
The Jewish Community (Mosaiske) estimated between 6,000 and 8,000 Jews lived in the country.
The Jewish Community called on police to investigate a possible case of incitement to hatred after a March sermon by an imam at the Masjid al-Faruq Mosque in a Copenhagen suburb posted on YouTube in May appeared to call for the killing of Jews. A translation of the Arabic transcript of the sermon included, “Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.” Minister of Immigration and Integration Inger Stojberg described the imam’s address as “horrible, antidemocratic, and abominable.”
In May, 17-year-old Natascha Colding-Olsen was sentenced to six-years’ incarceration for her role planning a terrorist attack against two schools, including a Jewish private school in Copenhagen. After an appeals process, in November her sentence was increased to eight years in prison. Charges against her alleged accomplice, a 24-year-old man who had recently returned from Syria, were dropped.
Representatives of Copenhagen’s Jewish community reported 22 anti-Semitic acts against Copenhagen’s Jewish community, its community center, or synagogue. The acts included one attempted murder, two cases of threats or intimidation, 17 cases of anti-Semitic slurs or language, and one case of vandalism (graffiti) and occurred despite increased police protection and physical security improvements.
During the year the government cooperated with the Jewish community to provide police protection for the Great Synagogue of Copenhagen as well as other locations of importance to the Jewish community. Jewish community leaders reported continued good relations with police and the ability to communicate their concerns to authorities, including the minister of justice.
Concerns remained in the Jewish community regarding a growing movement to prohibit infant male circumcision. Some organizations and individuals, including members of parliament, continued to campaign to have the practice banned (see also section 6, Other Societal Violence or Discrimination).
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities . It also mandates access by persons with disabilities to government buildings, education, information, and communications. The government enforced these provisions. The DIHR reported that the enforcement of antidiscrimination laws was well established for the workplace but less so in other areas, such as laws on accessibility, coercive measures in psychiatric treatment, self-determination, political participation, inclusion in the labor market, and equal access to healthcare. In addition outside the labor market there is no express prohibition of discrimination against persons with disabilities.
The DIHR reported that the practice of using of physical force and restraints during psychiatric treatment for periods in excess of 48 hours continued. According to Ministry of Health statistics from March, physical force or restraints were used on approximately 30 percent of patients undergoing psychiatric treatment in facilities.
The right of persons with disabilities to vote or participate in civic affairs was generally not restricted, but some persons with disabilities reported problems in connection with elections, including ballots that were not accessible to blind persons or persons with mental disabilities. The country maintained a system of guardianship for persons considered incapable of managing their own affairs due to psychosocial or mental disabilities. Persons under guardianship who do not possess legal capacity have the right to vote in local and regional elections as well as elections to the European Parliament.
According to the DIHR, persons with disabilities in Greenland, including children, had limited access to support, including physical aids, counselling, educated professionals, and appropriate housing. Persons with severe disabilities were often placed in foster homes far from their families or relocated to Denmark because of lack of resources in Greenland.
The National Police reported that in 2016 race was a factor in 140 crimes. The government effectively investigated hate crimes and prosecuted the perpetrators.
The law protects the rights of the indigenous Inuit inhabitants of Greenland, all of whom are Danish citizens and whose legal system seeks to accommodate their traditions. Through their elected internally autonomous government, they participated in decisions affecting their lands, culture, traditions, and the exploitation of energy, minerals, and other natural resources.
Indigenous Greenlandic people in Denmark remained undereducated, underrepresented in the workforce, overrepresented on welfare rolls, and more susceptible to suicide, homelessness, poverty, chronic health conditions including substance abuse, and sexual violence.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The law prohibits discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation. The law allows transgender persons to obtain official documents reflecting their new gender identity without requiring a diagnosis for a mental disorder or undergoing surgery.
The law allows individuals to determine their gender, but government guidelines require that hormone treatment for gender reassignment be conducted only in one designated clinic located in Copenhagen. Transgender activists continued to highlight this policy as evidence of discrimination against transgender persons.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
During the year no overt acts of discrimination against Muslims were reported., Spokespersons from Muslim Council of Copenhagen reported that Muslims in the country lived with a sense of increased scrutiny from the government and society. For example, in January the Jewish and Muslim communities worked together to engage society on the topic of (ritual) circumcision and counter public comments by some politicians that the practice should be outlawed. Leaders from the two communities believed the proposed ban specifically targeted them (see also section 6, Anti-Semitism).
The National Police reported that in 2016 religion was a factor in 88 crimes. The government effectively investigated hate crimes and prosecuted the perpetrators.