“Approximately 9% women over fifteen years of age in Norway have been victims of serious violence from their current or former partner one or more times in the course of their lives.” (Haaland, Clausen and Schei, 2005)
Compared to other types of crimes, we have realized that sexual crimes are not a big percentage of the total amount of crimes reported in Norway, but these type of crimes are so intimate that they create a big market of fear. This fear has a direct effect on the products and services available for those scared people. Those products and services provide a sort of false security, since they make people feel safer, but in the moment of a real incident, they won’t provide real help.
According to Dr. Helle Nesvold, a doctor at the Sexual Assault Center in Oslo, today, they have around 40 cases of sexual violence a month in Oslo, mostly concentrated during the weekends, but they usually attend one patient a day in average.
“In extreme cases, violence leads to loss of human life, and we know that between twenty and thirty per cent of all killings in the past ten years were committed by present or former lovers, spouses or partners.” (National Bureau of Crime Investigation)
In Norway, the authorities have initiated various activities and programs that aim to prevent and reduce the effects of violence. These include educational programs, knowledge dissemination, awareness-raising and assistance and treatment services. In addition, a number of voluntary organizations deliver key contributions in this field.
By global standards, Norway is a country with very few inhabitants. The population of less than five million is distributed across 429 municipalities. Almost six thousand people out of the total population live in Oslo.
Compared with many other countries, Norway has a low level of violence. According to Statistics Norway’s surveys of living conditions in the period 1987–2007, about five per cent of the adult population in Norway are subjected to violence or the threat of violence during the course of one year. These figures have remained stable in recent decades.
Norwegian society is characterized by social cohesiveness and a high degree of cooperation among various social institutions. The population’s close proximity to the social institutions means that small, concrete activities in the local communities and municipalities can achieve a substantial effect. Likewise, national initiatives can have a significant impact at the local level when there is cross-political agreement on the measures undertaken and a common understanding that coordinated action is needed to address the problem areas.
Designing for Dignity by Manuela Aguirre and Jan Kristian Strømsnes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.