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Foster kids still abused in Sweden: report

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10:05 CET+01:00
Children being cared for in foster homes and state institutions in Sweden continue to suffer from abuse, violence and sexual abuse, according to a forthcoming report.

Swedish municipalities admit that children placed in such institutions suffer to extent that "is not insignificant."

"Every instance of abuse is clearly a catastrophe," Sara Roxell, a project leader with the Swedish Association and Local Authorities (SALAR), told the Göteborgs-Posten (GP) newspaper.

The newspaper has reviewed survey responses from municipalities included in a government restitution inquiry looking into measure to address past abuses suffered by children while in the care of the state.

Back in 2006, the government launched an investigation to shed light on widespread allegations of abuse suffered by Swedish youngsters while under the care of the state during the 20th century.

According to commission's findings, originally presented in January 2010, 61 percent of women and 42 percent of men were subjected to sexual abuse during their time in foster homes or orphanages.

In light of the original inquiry's findings, the government launched a new restitution inquiry to propose a process for admitting the state's past mistakes and making amends with those who suffered abuse.

The commission was also charged with examining whether those who suffered abuse ought to receive economic compensation and proposing measures to ensure that abuses aren't repeated.

The inquiry, which will present its findings to the government on February 10th, found that abuse at state institutions for children aren't a thing of the past, but continues to take place now.

According to the inquiry, Sweden still lacks procedures for preventing, discovering, and addressing both abuse and neglect, the newspaper writes.

"For me, this came like a bolt of lightning. We must be able to guarantee that the children we place aren't subject to abuse," Dario Espiga, the Social Democratic chair of the social resources committee with Gothenburg municipality, told the newspaper.

Roxell wants municipalities to come up with measures to reduced the risk that children suffer from poor treatment while cared for at state institutions.

Follow-up and supervision of foster homes and institutions also needs to improve, she said.

"The social services aren't where the child is. Therefore regular visits to the homes in which they are placed are needed," said Roxell.

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