Swedish Expert Team

Since 2014, the County Administrative Board of Östergötland has had a national expert team developed on behalf of the government (U2013/5290/JÄM). According to the mission, the Swedish Expert Team shall coordinate and support efforts to prevent and counteract honour-related violence and oppression, child marriage, forced marriage and female genital mutilation, as well as provide knowledge and competence in this area.

The Swedish Expert Team consists of a number of experts who have considerable practical and theoretical knowledge, as well as experience in efforts to prevent and counteract honour-related violence and oppression and its various forms of expression, within such sectors as social services and the judiciary, research and the non-profit. The team carries out the government’s mission to prevent and counteract honour-related violence and oppression, child marriage, forced marriage and genital mutilation, mainly through web support and a telephone helpline for professionals, as well as support for national authorities and county administrative boards.

Also coupled to the team is a reference group with selected members from other organisations, all with many years of experience and specific expertise in the field.

National helpline

Are you a professional or volunteer in need of advice and consultation in situations where children and adults are, or are at risk of being, subjected to honour-related oppression, violence, child marriage, forced marriage and female genital mutilation? If so, you can call the national helpline. The purpose of the helpline is to provide support so that vulnerable children and adults receive the support and protection they need and to which they are entitled.

You can call the helpline both in emergency cases and in matters relating to prevention or long-term support. We receive questions about, among other things, treatment, detecting vulnerabilities, threat and risk assessments, care and placement, collaboration and information about current legislation.

Helpline number: 010-223 57 60

The helpline is staffed on weekdays, Monday to Friday, from 09:00-16:00.

On a few occasions, the helpline has not been accessible due to technical problems. If this happens, call Eva Asmar at: 010-223 52 84 (or switchboard 010-223 50 00).

Considerations before calling:
Do not reveal the identities of those you are dealing with – do not provide names or social security numbers.

Covid-19

Covid-19 creates new situations on a daily basis that we are still learning to deal with. Honour-related violence and oppression is not new, but society’s abilities to detect to and provide support and protection have changed. We must adapt our activities to these changes and break isolation that is not related to disease.

The hotline is closed on these dates:

Other exceptions to normal service

Responsibility to report concern applies for professionals

If you work at an agency whose activities concern children and young people, you must immediately file a report with the social services if you suspect that a child is being harmed or is at risk of harm. This includes those employed in health care, dental care, nursery school, school, social services or correctional services.

Link to the National Board of Health and Welfare’s website specifying reporting obligations.

Are you being subjected yourself?

For advice, support and help – Turn to social services in your municipality. This also applies in emergency situations. In case of an emergency or ongoing crime, call the police at 112.

There are also non-government organisations that can give you help and support.

Why a national helpline?

The background to setting up the helpline is that the County Administrative Board of Östergötland, through previous activities, has become aware of the substantial and varied needs for advice and guidance among professionals around the country, regarding matters concerning honour-related violence and oppression.

The need for a helpline for professionals has been identified in the context of knowledge dissemination and other previous efforts. Moreover, even before the start of the national helpline, the County Administrative Board of Östergötland received calls from all over the country on a daily basis through the network of contacts established throughout the country based on national government missions. Read more in the County Administrative Board’s report on the Swedish Expert Team and the National Helpline.

The phone is not something that has been added instead of, for example, educational efforts, but is to be seen as a complement. There is still considerable need for education and training. You can find out about how to book a course here.

Statistics on helpline cases

Based on the cases received by the helpline, certain statistics have been compiled. These statistics give an overall picture of the cases and the vulnerability that have come to the attention of the County Administrative Board of Östergötland, but do not give a complete picture of the occurrence of honour-related violence and oppression, child marriage, forced marriage and female genital mutilation in Sweden. The statistics are updated once each quarter.

Statistics for cases 1 January – 30 September 2020

Statistics for cases 13 March 2014 – 30 September 2020

Many received calls concern cases that are very serious and the situations more or less of an emergency nature. Those the calls refer to have been subjected to violations of their human rights and often criminal acts. These are, above all, girls and young women who are being subjected to many different types of violence, abuse, restrictions and control. There are often several perpetrators, including parents, siblings and other relatives. It can also be a matter of a person who inflicts violence while others in the environment support or allow it to happen. The calls may also involve vulnerable boys and young men, or adult women and men. In almost all cases, it is a matter of repeated abuse and not of isolated acts.

Abuse includes:

  • Child and forced marriages
  • Children and young people taken abroad
  • Severe physical violence
  • Sexual violence
  • Serious psychological violence and threats, including death threats
  • Extensive control and limitations in everyday life of those abused
  • Consequences of genital mutilation or concern about genital mutilation

Read more in the annual reports of the County Administrative Board of Östergötland.

Common call topics

The calls to the national helpline provide a picture of the difficulties faced by various professionals, what they need further guidance on and what needs to be further developed to better meet the needs for support and protection of the vulnerable target group.

Most calls to the helpline come from social services professionals. The second most common are calls from school staff. Here are examples of common topics taken up in the calls:

Social services
  • Lack of support from management
  • Children’s vulnerability and ambivalence, as well as the consequences of violence
  • Child perspective versus parental perspective
  • Threat and risk assessments
  • Removal and placement
  • Abducted children and the transnational perspective
  • Initiatives for guardians and other family members
  • Support for adults and young people
School
  • Signs of abuse
  • Reporting concern
  • Contact and cooperation with social services
  • Children absent from school
  • To uphold the basic values of the Education Act
Police and prosecutors
  • Threat and risk assessments
  • Safety planning
  • Support in criminal investigations
  • Need for experts
Health and medical care
  • Signs of current or past abuse
  • Treatment, initiatives and support that can be offered
  • Questions about the hymen and certificates of virginity

For more information, see the County Administrative Board’s annual reports for 2018 and 2019.

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