News

Dec 17, 2016

- a course about contemporary art, critical art and the freedom of speech for artists from Norway and in Russia.

Dec 17, 2016
As reported by colleagues from the Barents Secretariat, it has been decided to invite 10 Russian journalists to the Norwegian town of Kirkenes for the legendary art festival Barents Spektakel.
Nov 25, 2016

The theme of the meeting: Is there a crisis in modern journalism? Time: November 26, from 10:00 to 12:00.. Admission is free, registration is not required.

Apr 22, 2016
Mar 25, 2016
 

Barnevern with our own eyes

Nov 15, 2016


In early November a group of journalists from Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions and Karelia visited the Norwegian city of Tromso, where they could get acquainted with the activities of the child protective services Barnevern that caused strong criticism among the public and in the press of many countries of Eastern Europe and the Baltic States.


 

Widely discussed on Federal TV channels, in print and online media of Russia Seizures of the children from Russian and mixed families by the Norwegian authorities turned Barnevern into one of the stereotypes of the negative perceptions by Russians of juvenile justice not only in Norway but in all the Nordic countries. Barents Press gave the opportunity for Russian journalists to see how Barnevern works and to talk to the staff, children and parents' lawyers who act in court proceedings in cases concerning the guardianship of minors.

Here is the activities of the Norwegian child protective services in the official figures: for the whole of Norway in 2015 Barnevern received 54.4 thousands of cases related to child protection. 80% of such appeals were investigated by the officers, after that 60% of the cases were closed and 40% of the appeals were decided to be put under "supplementary measures". However, not all of them involve the removal of children from the family. In 2015 such extreme measures were applied to 460 children, and the vast majority of them Norwegians. According to Barnevern, the number of cases of removing children from Russian and mixed Russian-Norwegian families is so small that it’s even not included in the statistics.

During the course the Russian journalists could meet with the Minister of children’s affairs, equality and integration of Norway Solveig Horne who found her explanation of critical publications on the Barbevern’s activities in the press of Eastern Europe, Russia and the Baltic States. According to the Minister, the reasons for such criticism might be the lack of information about the ways this service is functioning. "We also see that in some of the offices of child protective services there’s lack of knowledge about cultural differences, and we have asked the Directorate to develop a program to pay more attention to cultural understanding when dealing with such cases," - said the Minister.

It should be noted that the Norwegian law forbids any violence against the child. Most common for Russian families "a slap on the fanny" can be well considered violence by the child protective services. And in Norwegian families a few decades ago "slap on the fanny" were considered to be a harmless educational measure. But now the situation has cardinally changed. Professor Willie Tour who studies the mental health of children and adolescents shared with Russian journalists the results of the survey: 80% of Norwegians do not allow themselves any violence towards a child including slapping, 18% – sometimes make flip flops, and only 2% often use physical punishment.

According to Desk Luther, the head of the Center for children exposed to violence in the city of Tromsø, it does not matter what nationality the child is: Russian, Czech, Lithuanian or Syrian. All children in Norway are under state protection, and if Barnevern’s officers turn to have concern about threat to the life and health of the child he/she can be delivered to the center for examination the results of which give reasons for the decision on his case.

Valeriy Potashov, specially for Barents Press.

Read more in Russian at the website Chernika

Translated by Tatiana Polkova

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