Committee to prevent partner killings

Minister of Justice, Per-Willy Amundsen Partner KillingsMinister of Justice, Per-Willy Amundsen. Photo: Regjeringen.no

Committee to find out how partner killings can be prevented

Researchers have established that partner killings can be prevented. Soon Minister of Justice, Per-Willy Amundsen (Progress Party), will put a committee together to find out just how.

 

– We aim to put the committee together before the end of August 2017, says Amundsen to NTB.

The committee will consider whether to establish a permanent commission of inquiry to scrutinize every single partner killing in Norway. Both Equality and Discrimination Ombudsman, Hanne Bjurstrøm, and the Crisis Secretariat have discussed such an “accident commission”.

“We have a big challenge in Norwegian society, and it is clear that the efforts are not good enough,” Bjurstrøm told NTB recently.

A commission of inquiry investigating what went wrong before the murders took place, will help to bring down the number of such killings, she says.

7 of the 27 murder victims last year were the perpetrator’s partner or ex-partner. While other types of murders fall on the statistics, the number of partner homicide on average remains at the same level for the last 25 years.

Report from 2015

Eighteen months ago, at the end of 2015, the Government received a research report which concluded that partner killings do not happen without warning. In seven out of ten cases, violence was reported in advance. It is therefore possible to prevent, says the researchers. They also determined the risk factors.

According to the report, private individuals are not being taken seriously when they alert police or health care about partner violence. Different agencies do not warn each other about the risks they are aware of. The researchers went through all partner homicides from 1990 to 2012 where there is a verdict.

Ignores precursors

On Monday the trial of one of last year’s partner homicides begin, involving a 37-year-old woman and her 12-year-old son who were killed in Kirkenes. The woman’s 59 years old husband has admitted the murders. The woman was in contact with the police shortly before, and the police have been criticized for not using the tools they are required to use to uncover the risk of partner violence.

See matters in context

The Minister admits that there is a need for increasing knowledge and expertise in the police and the support system and to strengthen prevention.

Asked what a committee will be able to contribute towards knowledge with respect to the research report from 2015, Amundsen responds:

– The committee will investigate matters that are believed to be important in preventing partner killings and the purpose is for experienced professionals to assess several issues in context. Through its work, the Committee will have a better basis for comparison and systematic analysis than the individual supervisory authority. The research report will be one of several important bases for the committee.

New action plan

The Minister of Justice also informs that it “during the autumn” will be considered whether to draw up a new action plan against domestic violence. The current plan expires this year.

– Action plans are a good instrument in areas where several ministries must interact to get the best results. Violence in close relationships is an area where gender equality, crime and health and social policy instruments are required, says Amundsen.

 

© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today

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