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Police 'too slow' to investigate child abuse

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Police 'too slow' to investigate child abuse
08:27 CET+01:00
Police break the rules in taking too long to investigate sexual and violent abuse against children in Sweden, a review by the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper shows.

When children are victims of violence or sexual abuse in Sweden, an investigation must be launched within 90 days of the report, according to current rules.

In some cases, however, the incident has been put to one side and not investigated for several years, wrote DN.

"This concerns hundreds of children who are badly treated by the justice system," said psychologist Åsa Landberg from Save the Children (Rädda Barn) to the paper.

"It doesn't take much to understand what this means for the children."

The worst area in the country is Falun in central Sweden, where 57 percent of cases take more than 90 days to be investigated. Southern Stockholm and Borås in western Sweden were also among the slowest to respond to child abuse reports, each taking too long in over 55 percent of cases.

In the first eight months of 2012, the police took more than 90 days before looking at potential child abuse cases in 36 percent of reports lodged nationwide.

"It's up to the police to ensure the resources are there. This is about prioritizing these cases," Landberg said.

Ulf Johansson of the south Stockholm police responded to the findings, stating that the results were "serious and unacceptable".

"We have not done enough. This is why we're decided to concentrate our efforts. No child will suffer because we haven't had time to take care of their case," he told DN.

Police now plan to get rid of their current queuing system by March 2013 in an effort to have a quicker investigation turn-around time.

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