Norway: Protection available to women and children victims of abusive husbands and fathers
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 June 1999|
|Citation / Document Symbol||NOR31883.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Norway: Protection available to women and children victims of abusive husbands and fathers, 1 June 1999, NOR31883.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aae18c.html [accessed 10 March 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
For information on selected women's groups in Norway please consult Women's Movements of the World: An International Directory and Reference Guide (1988) and Encyclopedia of Women's Associations Worldwide (1993), available in Regional Documentation Centres.
According to Country Reports 1998:
In 1997 there were approximately 30,000 contacts by telephone by women with crisis action centers and 4,360 overnight stays by women at shelters. Police authorities believe that increases in reported rapes and wife beatings in recent years have been largely due to greater willingness among women to report these crimes. The police vigorously investigate and prosecute such crimes. They have also instituted special programs to prevent rape and domestic violence and to counsel victims. Public and private organizations run several shelters which give battered wives an alternative to returning to a violent domestic situation (1999, 1404).
The aim of the MiRA Resource Centre for Black, Immigrant and Refugee Women, in Oslo
is to promote equality for minority women in Norway. We try to increase awareness about the specific conditions that often determine the life quality of minority women. Through well-established legal and social services, information and networking, the MiRA Centre tries to strengthen immigrant and refugee Women's position in society. The MiRA Centre is also a place for self-organisation and has created a space for minority women to define their own realities (3 June 1999).
In 3 June 1999 correspondence the Director of MiRA stated:
Women and children who suffer from family abuse can take shelter in, and seek the help of, the state funded crisis centres throughout the country. The centres are run by women, they have unlisted addresses, and give assistance in matters such as making a complaint with the police, getting medical help, and getting women in touch with other family members or friends. They also provide shelter for women and their children, and they do political work to secure the rights of women and children.
There are no separate crisis centres for immigrant and refugee women in Norway. Some workers at the crisis centre have an understanding of the particular issues of minority women, unfortunately, this is an exception to the rule. This is particularly a concern in major cities, as they often see immigrant and refugee women seeking their assistance. In Oslo in 1998, more than 50% of the women who needed help from the crisis centre were of foreign origin, mostly from countries in the South. The government is reluctant to establish houses of refuge especially for minority women, and centres working to prevent the abuse of, and building the confidence of, immigrant and refugee women.
There are also a range of other references in documentary sources to issues involving women, children, and/or abuse. On 6 September 1995 The Fresno Bee reported that "a random survey of 150 women in Trondheim, Norway, showed that every fourth one had been the victim of physical or sexual violence of their partner."
A program consisting of alarms connected directly to police units, has been introduced by Norway's Ministry of Justice "to protect women most at risk of physical violence. ...When a woman activates the alarm, which fits in a pocket, the tracking device gives police her precise location" ((The Plain Dealer 21 Oct. 1997).
An Autumn 1996 issue of WIN News refers to a 1994 international educational campaign by Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) - "one of Norway's largest NGOs" - entitled "Violence Against Women - A Block to Development" (55). With support from the European Union the campaign focused on: "domestic violence, violence against women in the labour market and in areas of war and conflict" (ibid.). Furthermore, "NPA has initiated a number of awareness raising activities in Norway on this theme ... Men have a particular responsibility in facing and combatting violence against women, and NPA is collaborating with progressive men's groups and trade union in Norway who are active toward this goal" (ibid.).
Scotland on Sunday reported on 30 March 1997 that a Scottish man would go to Norway to face charges for abducting his daughter. He could receive up to three years in jail after full custody of the child was given by a Scottish court in 1995 to the Norwegian mother (ibid.).
In another story involving a Scottish father, The Herald reported on 19 January 1995 that Norway was "pursuing a man" who was in arrears in support payments for two of his children and noted that both countries "are signatories of the Hague Convention which provides for the recovery of child support payments." The man claimed that "he faces financial ruin, unless he allows his ex-wife's new husband to adopt his children."
According to the Manchester Guardian Weekly:
In Norway, where divorce rates and the proportion of children living with one parent is similar to the UK, the government has taken the view that divorce or separation need not, and should not, mean that children's bonds with either parent are weakened. A new Marriage Act compels all couples with children under 16 to use a mediation service before they separate or divorce. The point is not to try to save the marriage, but to enable the parents to agree on arrangements for the children (6 July 1997).
The Daily Telegraph reported on 24 September 1998 that Norway is one of a number of countries where children "are legally protected from being smacked" by their parents. The London Free Press, in a report on efforts to change the provisions of the Canadian Criminal Code which permit parents to use "reasonable" physical force against their children, listed Norway as one of seven countries that "don't have laws allowing parents to hit their children" (6 Mar. 1999).
The Asahi News Service reported on 10 December 1998 that Norway is one of several countries which "penalize their citizens who commit sex crimes against children outside their countries."
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Asahi News Service. 10 December 1998. Sachiko Nakagome. "Sexual Exploitation: The Gravest Infringement Against Children's Rights." (NEXIS)
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1998. 1999. United States Department of State. Washington, DC.
The Daily Telegraph [London]. 24 September 1998. Colin Randall. "Parental Right that Smacks of a Bygone Age Punishment Debate..." (NEXIS)
The Fresno Bee. 6 September 1995. "Violence Against Women Plagues Nations Worldwide." (NEXIS)
The Herald [Glasgow]. 19 January 1995. "Norway's CSA Demands £3500 Arrears From Scottish Father." (NEXIS)
The London Free Press. 6 March 1999. Helen Connell. "Hitting Children May Be Emotional Over-Reaction." (NEXIS)
Manchester Guardian Weekly. 6 July 1997. Frances Rickford. "Teenagers May Not Be the Same Across Europe But Their Troubles Are." (NEXIS)
MiRA Resource Centre for Black, Immigrant and Refugee Women, Oslo, Norway. 3 June 1999. Correspondence from Director.
The Plain Dealer [Cleveland]. 21 October 1997. Gerald O'Dwyer. "Norway Approves Protection for Battered Women." (NEXIS)
Scotland on Sunday. 30 March 1997. Stephen Fraser and Paul Rowinski. "Scientist Hopes for Leniency in Norwegian Child Abduction Case." (NEXIS)
Win News [Lexington, Mass.]. Autumn 1996. Vol. 22, No. 4. "Women and Violence: No to Violence Against Women."