Swede Warns of Suffering in Child Abuse Investigations

  A Swedish professor of criminal law warns that many children who are victims of sexual abuse are subjected to unneccessary sufferering in the investigations and in the court room – both in Sweden and in much of Europe.

  Particpating in a study of court cases all over Europe, he concludes that many of the investigators are too insensitive to the children’s trauma. He blasts some countries such as Britain and Germany where even 3-year old victims are forced to come to the court room – and some southern European countries such as Italy which bother only with the most violent cases – in painfully long procedures.

   The professor adds that in Sweden and the Scandinavian countries, a video interrogation of the child is acceptable in court – but he also warns that this can lead to a judge closing a case because of the lack of evidence.

  The Swede gives the highest praise to Iceland – where he maintains there is close co-operation betwen the police, the prosecutor, social workers and psychologists.

   The child need make only one public appearance – and that in some cases, the judge will come to the child’s home to hear the story for himself.