Record compensation to refugee rape victim

An orphaned refugee rape victim has been awarded record damages by Sweden's Court of Appeal.

The Svea court decided that she had been brought up in a religious and cultural environment which made it especially hard for her to defend herself or to report the attacks and awarded her 300,000 kronor.

The girl, who is now 18, was raped at least seven times by a distant relative. The attacks began when she was seven years old, and continued until she was 14. Then, she told two classmates what was happening and they made her go to the school nurse.

The nurse brought in the social services and police.

Now the 24 year old attacker has been sentenced to four and a half years’ imprisonment by the appeals court, two years more than he received in the district court, according to the law paper Juridik Idag.

The court did not consider that the girl would have fabricated the reports of the rapes, and her evidence was supported by a medical investigation.

The fact that the girl could not specify the exact occasions on which she was raped did not reduce the credibility of her testimony, wrote the court.

The court’s reasoning behind the high damages award was unusual. Normally, compensation to an adult is around 75,000 kronor. For children who are raped the amount varies, although the Supreme Court will soon set a fixed level.

It was a serious enough violation that the girl had been exposed to repeated rapes early on in her school years, said the court. But in determining the compensation it took into account her particularly vulnerable position as an orphaned immigrant to Sweden, and the religious and cultural environment which made it harder for her to protect herself.

The girl received a further 50,000 kronor for pain and suffering.

The man has not been prosecuted for child rape because the attacks took place before the new sexual crimes law was introduced last spring.

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