Hedersrelaterat våld och förtryck. Tillgodoses flickors rätt till skydd?
Sammanfattning: This thesis will investigate what happens to girls who are victims of honour- related violence committed by their families to protect the family’s honour. The intention of this thesis is to clarify what help is available to these girls. Honour- related crime was first discussed in Swedish society at the beginning of the 1990’s. Honour- related violence has its roots in a patriarchal power structure. The violence is based on gender, power, sexuality and its cultural beliefs. In Sweden many young girls are controlled and punished with violence by their families. Violence may occur when a girl has acted in a way which is not in line with the family’s values. Girls who grow up in these families do not know if they should behave according to the families’ traditional values or Swedish values. Social services are responsible for ensuring that children are protected, according to Swedish and international laws. Social Services Act, (2001:453), states that social services must make sure that children and teenagers grow up in good and safe conditions. According to the Social Services Act and the Care of Young Persons Act (1990:52), social services have the obligation to help, protect and care for children in need. If the social services suspect that a child is living in conditions where their health or development could be harmed the social services have to investigate whether the child should be taken away from their parents. Therefore the social services have an obligation to protect girls who are victims of honour-related violence. It is very important that social workers understand the phenomenon of honour- related violence in order to make the special considerations that are needed in these cases. If not the situation for the girls can get worse. In 2012 criticisms were made about several social welfare offices in Sweden. These criticisms concerned the ways that the investigations were made into the cases of honour- related violence. Therefore there is a reason to question whether the girls receive the right kind of help from social services and society. This thesis aims to investigate whether the community and social services give the girls the protection they are entitled to by Swedish law. I conducted interviews with social workers and these have shown that there are a lot of social workers within Sweden who are competent, dedicated to the subject, understand the complexity of the problem and know how to handle these cases. Unfortunately there are also many social workers who do not recognise the signs when a girl is a victim of honour- related violence. This can lead to the social workers closing the case or handling the case incorrectly, which can put the girls in a dangerous and risky situation. This thesis have made some investigations into cases from two different Administrative Courts in Sweden, involving honour- related violence, where the court had to decide whether to take the girl away from her parents and send her to live somewhere else. Nineteen cases were investigated and in all of the cases the court decided that the girls could not live home because of the threat to the girls’ health and development. In one of the cases the Administrative Court of Appeal changes the Administrative Court’s judgement. The courts seem to be aware of the honour- related problems, they appear to listen to and respect the girls’ stories. It is difficult to generalise about the way in which the girls who are victims of honour- related violence are protected in relation to their rights under Swedish law because it depends upon many factors. If you only see to the courts’ and some of the social services offices’ work, then it seems that society has succeeded in protecting the girls. However in many cases the girls do not receive the right help from social services, due to the social service workers lack of knowledge. The current law gives girls who are victims of honour- related violence relatively strong protection but not full protection. In my opinion changes in the law is needed. Therefore this thesis will conclude that social services and society do not succeed in protecting girls who are victims of honour- related violence. To be able to give the girls a stronger protection special measures must be taken on different levels. In order to strengthen the girls' protection a definition of the phenomenon should be compiled and the staff working with honour- related questions need to be educated about the topic. Furthermore, it is necessary that the social workers handle the cases with precision, changes in the law is needed and it is necessary to follow up the girls situation. Girls who are victims of the violence have the same right as other children to be protected. The society, the social services and the judicial system have the obligation to succeed in protecting girls who are victims of the violence.
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