Girl taken out of Sweden despite risk of honour violence

Swedish social services have been criticized after a 12-year-old girl from Norrköping was taken abroad despite being singled out as being at risk of honour violence.

Girl taken out of Sweden despite risk of honour violence
The girl was taken abroad despite signs she was at risk of so-called honour violence. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist / TT

The incident has been reported to Sweden's Health and Social Care Inspectorate (IVO), which has strongly criticized the actions of local social services in a new report.

The 12-year-old had told staff at her school that both she and her siblings suffered violence at home, and that her father hit her.

She was also reported as saying that she felt “controlled” and that her parents didn't like her having Swedish friends.

When social services got involved with her case, they asked the girl's father for consent to speak to her and later sent the child and her parents home together, despite the girl saying she was scared of returning home because of her parents' reactions. They did not open a full investigation into her case.

A month later, the girl's mother took her abroad and her father informed the Swedish school that the child had been enrolled at a new school abroad. Now, the municipality has lost contact with the girl and has no information on how she is.

The IVO report highlighted alternative actions social services could have taken, including meeting the girl alone and opening an investigation into her and her siblings' need for protection.

“The information given by the girl was so serious and consistent with usual characteristics of honour-related oppression that it seems unreasonable to immediately try to bring her and her parents together,” IVO wrote in its report, according to Nörrköpings Tidningar. The inspectorate also said it would investigate how the municipality has worked in similar cases involving violence within the family.


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