PARIS — France’s Interior Ministry says it has seen a sharp rise of the number of police complaints filed for sexual crimes at the end of last year, in the wake of the scandal surrounding Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Statistics released Thursday show the number of police complaints for rape rose by 17.9 percent in the last quarter of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. Complaints filed for other sexual crimes, including sexual harassment, rose by 31.5 percent. Over 80 percent of the victims were women.

Interior minister Gerard Collomb made the link with Weinstein case on Europe 1 radio Thursday, saying it had the effect of “freeing speech” and that victims are “hesitating less” in coming forward.

France has seen an active “MeToo” movement, encouraging women to go to the police.

This version corrects that the rise in the statistics quoted refer to police complaints filed, instead of lawsuits.