Speech/statement | Date: 2017-11-07 | Ministry of Justice and Public Security
The Ministry of Justice and Public Security continues to oversee the development and implementation of new measures to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence.
We especially seek to improve training for law enforcement personnel and to increase the use of available tools for the police and prosecution service.
An offender can be made to wear a Reverse attack alarm as part of a sentence.The abuser – and not the victim – must bear the consequences of his crime in that his freedom of movement is restricted.
As of June 2017, five sentenced persons have been carrying a reverse violence alarm. The Director of Public Prosecutions underlines in his directive for the prosecution service for 2017 that prosecutors are too reluctant in seeking to obtain convictions that include the use of reverse alarms, and must consider this in more cases.
All police districts have carried out training in the use of the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment tool – SARA. From January 2017, we have introduced a more thorough reporting from the police districts concerning the use of SARA in order to closely follow developments.
All police districts have appointed a full-time family violence coordinator to help ensure that the police meet victims of violence as well as relatives and friends with understanding, knowledge and insight. As part of the ongoing reform process in the Norwegian police, all police districts will establish dedicated teams to work on violence and sexual abuse in intimate relationships.
We seek to spread information and raise awareness by the use of internet and social media. In February 2016, the Government established a new web portal on domestic violence and rape for persons exposed to such crimes and for the health and social services (dinutvei.no).
We continue to conduct broad research on domestic violence. Causes, extent and consequences of domestic violence are among the subjects for the research programs.
A large number of all reported cases of rape take place in so called party- situations. In the majority of cases, the perpetrators are boys or young men. Both perpetrators and victims are often intoxicated. We believe in the value of broad preventive measures to reduce the number of such crimes.
An internet campaign run by the police targets young men attempting to make them more alert and protective towards those they party with. In spring 2017, the campaign aimed at participants in secondary graduation celebrations (russetid).
We are constantly seeking ways to improve police investigations in rape cases. In 2016, the Director of Public Prosecutions presented a new report on the quality of investigations, having researched several hundred cases of rape. The advanced methodology and scope of this Quality Survey is groundbreaking for us in this field, giving specific information about quality at all stages of investigations. A major finding is that police interviews now meet a high standard. This is extremely encouraging, but also an expected development, since efforts to improve police interviews have been ongoing for a long time.
The Quality Survey of course also finds room for improvement and points at differences in the various police districts, thus paving the way for introducing specific follow-up measures in each district.
In several rape cases, the accused is found guilty in the district court, but is aquitted by the jury in the court of appeal. A jury does not give any grounds for its decision. I can inform the committee that Norway has recently abolished the jury system, and in the new system, the court of appeal will have to write down the grounds for a verdict. We will follow the effect of this change for rape cases with considerable interest.
Let me add that our courts also have increased penalties for rape. Many cases take place in connection with parties where individuals involved are heavily intoxicated, and where a man engages in sexual activity with a woman incapable of resisting the act. Such cases were previously dealt with quite leniently, with a few months in prison, but will now typically result in a prison term of 3 to 4 years.