New child abuse commission after Bobby death

Sweden's government is to set up a special commission to investigate cases where children die in violent circumstances. Morgan Johansson, the public health minister, expressly linked the new commission to the death of Bobby, a ten-year old boy from Småland allegedly killed by his parents.

“We could call this Bobby’s law,” Morgansson said.

“This would honour him.”

Bobby, who was disabled, died after choking on his own vomit. His mother and father will appear on Tuesday at Eksjö district court charged with murder, with alternative charges of serious assault or manslaughter.

While the proposed new law might take its name from Bobby, it is actually inspired by laws in a number of American states, and the way in which they investigate how authorities and others act when children die of abuse or neglect.

The proposal now put forward by Johansson, which he hopes to pass by the summer, was first floated in 2003, when the government said it wanted to devise a model for investigating deadly violence against children.

“Every year, eight to ten, sometimes as many as twelve children die in Sweden due to violence. This has been true for several years,” Johansson said.

“These days we are fairly good at identifying the culprit and convicting him. What we must improve on is investigating what we could have done earlier,” he added.

Johansson said that there should be a system for looking for signs that should have caused the authorities and others to react earlier, before the violence against the child has gone too far.

“This is not about looking for scapegoats, it’s more a question of systematically learning more and ensuring that such awful things don’t happen in the future.”

The new commission of enquiry will be under the auspices of the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), Expressen reports.

“This is a step in the right direction,” children’s ombudsman Lena Nyberg said, but added that it was not enough on its own.

“It is important that we increase our focus on questions relating to children and violence,” she said.

Nyberg argues that new statistics about the extent to which violence against children has become more common.

“We have received signals from various quarters that this is the case,” Nyberg said.

“In Sweden, many people believe that children have not been subjected to violence since the ban on corporal punishment was introduced, but this is not true,” she said.

The commission’s work will function as a kind of evaluation of why the system has not worked, and which changes can be made, Nyberg thinks.

Morgan Johansson argues that the new commission can be compared to those that investigate air, rail and shipping accidents.

“There has not been the same kind of thinking in the social arena,” he said.

Johansson said all he knows about the Bobby case is what has been published in newspapers.

“It brings tears to the eyes,” he said.

“Anything we can do to prevent such a thing happening again is good.”


Sweden Democrat politician charged for dismembering colleague

The former politician has been charged on suspicion of murdering his colleague in an apartment south of Stockholm, after police found body parts in three different locations in the capital.

Sweden Democrat politician charged for dismembering colleague

According to the prosecution, the body parts found in plastic bags in central Stockholm came from a man in his 60s murdered in an apartment in Nyköping, south of Stockholm.

The man is said to have been killed by a pistol shot to the head, after which the 60-year-old charged with the murder dismembered the body.

The suspected murderer, who newspaper Expressen reports is a former Sweden Democrat politician, is said to have moved the body parts multiple times, eventually dumping them across the city.

In total, three body parts were found in two different locations – the Karlsberg canal and in the Djurgården park. Not all parts of the body have yet been found.

“We’ve carried out a comprehensive investigation into the victim and the suspect. We can, to some extent, show how and when the suspect moved the body parts,” prosecutor Marina Chirakova told TT.

The victim, who according to Expressen was also a former Sweden Democrat politician, had been friends with the suspected murderer for a number of years. Prosecutors did not comment on the motive behind the murder.

“That will be discussed in the main hearings,” she told TT.

The suspect was taken into custody in November last year after being arrested in Nyköping. He denies the charges, but accepts certain circumstances related to the case.

Upon his arrest, he resigned from his political obligations and his membership was frozen by the Sweden Democrats.

“I don’t want to comment on his stance on the charges or anything he has said,” she further told TT.

The murder is suspected to have taken place between August 30th and September 16th last year.