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Crime Victims in the Swedish Social Services Act
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2009 (English)In: International Review of Victimology, ISSN 0269-7580, Vol. 15, no 3, 299-326 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article is a legal analysis of the Swedish welfare statute and its application to crime victims. Specifically, it addresses a legal reform from 2001, when a new provision concerning crime victims was introduced in the Swedish Social Services Act (2001: 453). The article raises policy issues, relating both to the limitations on the rights bestowed and the relationship between the various types of statutory provisions incorporated in the legislation. In particular, it focuses on the dichotomy between those provisions bestowing rights and those outlining goals. The main conclusion of the study is that the legal guidance regarding crime victims in the Social Services Act is vague, indistinct and contradictory. Additionally, section 5:11 does not change the legal responsibility of the Social Services towards crime victims, nor does it lead to the strengthening of the social rights of this group. Even the preparatory material indicates that the reform does not effect any legal changes. In addition, just like many other legal reforms for crime victims, very little supervision or enforcement mechanisms exist to ensure the application of the law.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 15, no 3, 299-326 p.
Keyword [en]
rights, Social Services Act, Sweden, victim assistance, victim needs
National Category
Social Work Law (excluding Law and Society)
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-28240OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-28240DiVA: diva2:223143
Available from: 2009-06-11 Created: 2009-06-11 Last updated: 2012-03-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Emergence of the Crime Victim in the Swedish Social Services Act
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Emergence of the Crime Victim in the Swedish Social Services Act
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study sought to explain how crime victims emerged as a target group in the Swedish Social Services Act in 2001. The findings, derived from legislative documents, a literature review, and focus group interviews with social workers, showed that the 2001 provisions both duplicated and undermined pre-existing provisions of the Social Services Act. The explicit aim of the reform was to improve services to crime victims. The provisions did not, however, change the legal responsibility of the social services, nor did they strengthen the social rights of crime victims. The social services already assumed responsibility for crime victims according to other provisions of the act. To some degree, the reform can be explained symbolically. Support for crime victims was a complicated issue for the social democratic government. The economic crisis of the early 1990s ruled out reforms that might bring high increased costs. Yet expanding crime victims’ rights at the expense of the offender (e.g. toughening penal law and promoting victim impact statements) was not in line with social democratic ideology. By enacting the 2001 provisions, the government showed its commitment to providing support to crime victims. At the same time, the provisions did not increase costs or strengthen crime victims’ rights. In this way, the provisions solved a political dilemma for the government. Incorporating the 2001 provisions in the Social Services Act may seem to have been a modest reform. Symbolic politics, however, are not empty; rather, they reflect attitudes and beliefs. This study proposed that the reform revealed the state’s increasing concern with violence against women and individual responsibility. Furthermore, the provisions may have constituted a normative reorientation of the Social Services Act, in which individual responsibility increasingly replaced solidarity, the holistic view, and a right to assistance according to need.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Social Work, Stockholm University, 2011. 85 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in social work, ISSN 0281-2851 ; 28
Keyword
crime victim, domestic violence, social welfare law, social work, social services
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55698 (URN)978-91-7447-205-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-04-29, Aula Svea, Socialhögskolan, Sveavägen 160, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-04-07 Created: 2011-03-25 Last updated: 2011-04-19Bibliographically approved

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