bris report 2011

Authorities should do more to help children

"The government has cut down on the money to social authorities"
1:43 min

Bris, the children's rights organisation, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and to mark the event, Wednesday's publication of its annual report contained the same themes as those which inspired the children's helpline to form in 1971 - physical, sexual and mental abuse and the authorities response in helping those children affected.

Göran Harnesk, Secretary General of Bris, told Radio Sweden that in some ways the response  from the authorities is better today than 40 years ago but in other ways much worse.

"It is worse in some parts because the government has cut down on the money given to social authorities so they don't have the skill, they don't have the money to do work with children as they should do."

Bris' Secretary General said there were positives.

"The good thing is that we have a social minister for children which means that the government would like to do something but they haven't done anything yet and we really hope that they can give money to something collective to help children in Sweden."

In its annual report for 2011, Bris said that it received more calls to its hotline than ever before - 115,000 calls in 2010. Eva Waltré, a psychologist and head of support activities at Bris, said that the five most common contact areas in 2010 concerned problems with friends, school, angst, family conflicts and bullying.

"What we think is a little alarming is children that contact us who have been abused, it's increasing and also when they are trying to get the help they want, they don't get that help, some even tell us that their situation gets worse."

41 percent of those children said that they did not get the help they needed while 37 percent said their situation actually deteriorated and Eva Waltré said that the figures were shocking.

"Those are very bad figures, when the children actually contact authorities, it's a very, very big step for them so it's crucial that authorities really help the children."   

Bris is calling for financial support to be able to staff its telephone hotline 24 hours a day, create a national children's refuge centre and a judicial system which places more weight on a child's side of the story.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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