Saturday, July 22, 2006

Child abuse deaths in Sweden

In two television interviews with Swedish human rights campaigner Ruby Harrold Claesson, Green MP Sue Bradford has claimed that child abuse causing death in Sweden is about one child every four years, and one a month in New Zealand. She claims that these statistics are one reason why we should ban smacking.

Harrold-Claesson disagrees. She has said that between 1965-1999 285 kids died at the hands of their Swedish caregivers. That's seven per year.

Bradford never said that reported child abuse in Sweden since the 1979 smacking ban has increased up to 500 percent In one Swedish police district alone, 145 confirmed cases of caregiver abuse occured from 1986-1996.

Yet Canadian Psychologist Joan Durrant, who visited this country in Feburary said child abuse in Sweden was virtually zero. She didnt want anyone to know that one child had been murdered in Sweden at the hands of caregivers the previous month, in addition to one murdered that same month.

Time for some fact-checking.

In January one little disabled boy was beaten to death in Sweden. "Bobby's" mother and her partner were jailed for 10 years last month for beating the boy.Another man is currently in custody in Stockholm for murdering his stepdaugher last month. Another parent admitted murdering her son in February

Another boy died at the hands of his adopted parents earlier this year. He was four, and social workers failed in their duty to stop the abuse.

Because of all the child abuse in Sweden, its government is setting up a special commission to investigate cases where children die in violent circumstances.

Sweden's public health Minister, Morgan Johansson, has said,
Every year, eight to ten, sometimes as many as twelve children die in Sweden due to violence. This has been true for several years.

Sue Bradford wants to ban smacking in New Zealand to minimise child abuse. Yet Sweden's Child Ombudsman Lena Nyberg said this recently.
We are getting more and more signals that children are being subjected to physical punishment, and we also know that the number of reported incidents of child abuse is increasing.

So, why use Sweden as an example of how well a ban on smacking is working?

Denmark banned smacking in 1997.Perhaps they could use Denmark as an example of how a smacking ban could get rid of child abuse - except that child abuse rose after the ban.

update In 1994 Joan Durrant wanted to find out how much smacking had decreased after the 1979 ban. She did a survey for Save the Children, and unfortunately for her, it found that corporal punishment of teenagers was just as bad after the 1979 ban as in prior generations and that, overall, corporal punishment had decreased very little. So they decided not to publish it. I wonder why?


Bradfields said...

The smacking issue is always an interesting one. I was smacked as a child if i did something really bad, normally just a clip round the back of the legs, but hard enough make me understand my actions.

Personally I don't feel this had any negative effect on my life and when I look at the state of some of the kids on the streets in the UK these days I honestly feel like a bit of discipline is something our society needs.

OK, so beating your kid so hard they die is blatantly wrong, but can that really be described as smacking?? Personally I think that smacking is something completely different to beating.

Anna said...

I live in Sweden, if you look at statistics on this, you will find that smacking has decreased. That's common knowledge in Sweden. Ruby Harrold Claesson has NOTHING to do with UN´s "Humans Right" in Sweden:

The public in general don´t know who she is, she's head of a rather unknown organisation with a confusing name.

Ruby Harrold-Claesson said...

In response to the posting made by anonymous "Anna" I would like to refer you to the article "These confused people and the smacking law hypocrisy" (De förvirrade och agalagshyckleriet) that I published on on July 13, 2006. See

Unfortunately, for lack of time, I haven't translated my article into English as yet.

Gothenburg, Sweden
October 25, 2006

Ruby Harrold-Claesson,
President of the NCHR/NKMR

Lupus said...

Lack of time or lack of honesty, skill and werewithal? You be the judge.