Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School - Green Background

Country Details


  • Case No. 128/2011, Denmark, Denmark Supreme Court, 2012.
    The defendant was found guilty of acts of violence toward his sons, which included physical abuse and constituted a continued offense because the violence involved a number of uniform and continuous acts over a period of ten (10) years. Additionally, he was found guilty of threatening his wife with abuse and death. Prior to these offenses, the defendant had no criminal record. Initially, the High Court found the defendant guilty of acts of violence and abuse against his children and wife and sentenced to one year and three months of imprisonment. Subsequently, the Supreme Court reversed the High Court’s determinations that the defendant did not commit any abuse and the acts of violence did not constitute a continued offense as well as increased the length of the defendant’s imprisonment from ten (10) months to one year and three months.
  • Case No. 48/2010, Denmark, Denmark Supreme Court, 2012.
    The plaintiff was employed as a social and health care assistant, but was dismissed from her job after approximately one month due to excessive sickness absence. At the time she was dismissed, the employee was pregnant and submitted a claim to her former employee requesting compensation corresponding to six months’ pay because her dismissal violated the Danish Act on Equal Treatment of Men and Women. The Supreme Court agreed and held that the former employee should be awarded her six months’ pay and further found that the right not to be dismissed due to pregnancy-related absence covers situations where an employer was neither aware nor should have been aware of the pregnancy at the time of the dismissal.
  • U1993.941/2V, Denmark, Western High Court, 1993.
    The defendant was found guilty of rape and sentenced to four months imprisonment. The defendant had intercourse with a physically and mentally disabled woman who was the sister of the woman with whom he cohabited. The victim had limited power in her arms and legs and difficulties moving and walking. She was also mentally handicapped. At trial, the woman testified that she tried to push the defendant away from her although she did not scream. The Court upheld the lower court’s acquittal of the defendant of aggravated rape because the intercourse did not occur under threat of violence. However, the Court found the defendant guilty of having forced intercourse with a disabled woman (Penal Code § 218) because her condition rendered her unable to resist the defendant and the defendant was aware of this because of his prior acquaintance with her. The Court awarded the woman 15,000 DKK as compensation.
  • U1991.534H, Denmark, Supreme Court, 1991.
    The defendant was found guilty of multiple rapes and sentenced to five and a half years of imprisonment.  He was found guilty of threatening his victims with a knife, hitting them, holding them in a stranglehold and threatening them with death.  Four of his victims were prostitutes.   The Supreme Court awarded compensation to two rape victims who had been denied such compensation by the High Court because they were prostitutes. 
  • U1988.79V, Denmark, Western High Court, 1988.
    The defendant was acquitted of having sexual intercourse with a woman placed in his care, contrary to Penal Code § 219 which provides that any person who is employed in or in charge of any children’s or young person’s home or institution for the mentally deficient, among others, and who has sexual intercourse with any person who is an inmate of the same institution, shall be liable to imprisonment for any term not exceeding four years. The defendant, a thirty-year old man, was approved by the municipality to have children and adolescents in his care at his home. The victim was a twenty-four year old woman who was placed in his care for her drug abuse. The Municipal Court and the High Court found that Penal Code § 219 was intended to protect individuals under state care from disregard of special duties or abuses of power by employees and superintendents of the mentioned institutions. According to the travaux preparatories, Penal Code § 219 applies to both public and private foster homes as well as institutions and therefore, would apply in this case. However, the court found that the protection from sexual relations in relation to arrangements for private care is provided for by different provisions of the Penal Code, not the travaux preparatories of § 219. Consistent with this finding, the High Court found the defendant not guilty because the provision in § 219 only applies with certainty to those under institutional care, not private care.
  • U1987.960V, Denmark, Western High Court, 1987.
    The defendant was found not guilty of brutal violence by the Municipal Court, but was sentenced to sixty days of conditional imprisonment. The defendant was accused of abuse when he knocked his wife over, tore at her clothes, hit her, pulled her hair, bit her, and tried to take photographs of her naked. The Municipal Court awarded her compensation of 4,000 DKK. Subsequently, the defendant appealed to the Western High Court for reduced liability for compensation. A majority of the court found that the wife was not entitled to compensation for two reasons: 1) the defendant was only sentenced to conditional imprisonment; 2) the defendant was found not guilty of brutal violence by the Municipal Court. A dissenting judge advocated awarding compensation because of the circumstances of the abuse and also because the defendant was found guilty of committing ordinary violence. Ultimately, the High Court denied compensation to the wife.
  • U1984.253V, Denmark, Western High Court, 1983.
    Over a period of fifteen months, the defendant kicked and beat his wife, forcibly sodomized her and introduced foreign objects into her rectum, which eventually contributed to her death.   Rejecting defendant's statement that his wife had consented to being beaten during intercourse, the Municipal Court found him guilty of assault and maltreatment and sentenced him to six years imprisonment.  The prosecution sought to increase the defendant's sentence.   The Court increased the defendant's sentence because of the aggravating circumstance of the long duration of grossly degrading sexual assault suffered by the victim. 
  • U1960.1075V, Denmark, Western High Court, 1960.
    While in the process of obtaining a legal separation from his wife, the defendant broke into her bedroom and put her in a stranglehold until she surrendered to intercourse.   He was convicted of rape, thus recognizing marital rape within the definition of rape in the Penal Code.