When a fifth-grade boy told his school councilor that he, his younger brother and his mother were being physically abused by the boy’s stepfather, social services filed a police report. But it took one year for the police to look into it. The case is now being investigated by the Ombudsman for Justice.
“This is of course very serious,” Christian Agdur, district police commissioner in Södertörn in Stockholm, told Swedish Radio news.
He added that “there are some explanations but there is no real defense” for the police’s inaction.
The boy told the school councilor that the beatings happened several times a week and that he, his brother and the mother were very scared.
Social services filed the police report in May 2011 but it was left untouched for around ten months. Only after four reminders from the public prosecutor did the police begin to investigate the case. During that time, the violence against the boy continued, according to the indictment recently submitted to the district court.
In a statement to the Ombudsman for Justice the police said that there were too few child case investigators to deal with all the reported cases of child abuse.
Swedish law stipulates that cases of child abuse as severe as this one should be dealt with swiftly and there is a three-month grace period.
“The Ombudsman for Justice has criticized police and prosecutors many times before for not fulfilling these demands,” said Per Lagerud, the Ombudsman bureau chief.