Victim Support the Welfare State

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1 Victim Support the Welfare State Carina Gallo, Ph.D. PACE, San Francisco State University School of Social Work, Lund University Kerstin Svensson, Ph.D. School of Social Work, Lund University Victimology Symposium, Hong Kong, June 10-14, 2018

2 The Decade of the Crime Victim

3 Offenders - attackers, dangerous, and sophisticated Medical and psychiatric help for offenders and constitutional rights posed an immense burden on an already overtaxed system.

4 The criminal justice system should be reformed from the perspective of the victim where: their attackers are are appropriately punished and not released prematurely to harm others.

5 Dr. Marlene Young, founding Director of the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), the oldest non-governmental victim assistance organization in the U.S, has described President Reagan s 1982 Task Force report as the victim movement s biggest turning point and greatest accomplishment. The University of Akron (2002)

6 The concentration on punitiveness as a driving force behind victim policies can distract our attention from a wider range of influences. (Hall, 2010)

7 The Swedish Model Solidarity Equality Social rights Universalism Penal-welfarism

8 Victim Support Sweden (VSS) 1980s: First local victim support centers 1988: National umbrella organization. Guides 90 local support centers Non-governmental organization, social and practical support provided by volunteers National helpline and advocacy work Around 90,000 victims, witnesses, and family members

9 Objectives Explore the role of non-governmental victim support organizations in a shifting Swedish welfare state, where welfare policies have become more restrictive and crime policies, to some degree, more punitive.

10 Data Archival material Victim Support Sweden ( ): Letters, annual reports, minutes, law proposal statements, education material, member magazine Interviews with key actors Legislative material (for example the 1978 Criminal Injuries Compensation Act)

11 1960: Golden Age of the Swedish Welfare State No word for crime victim in the Swedish language Swedish welfare model required a narrative that placed the fault on a societal level to create legitimacy for reform/expand the welfare state Many reforms intended to erase the dichotomy between the good and the bad or the deserving or undeserving

12 1960: Golden Age of the Swedish Welfare State Crime primarily considered a social problem caused by inequalities and poverty, with consequences for society. Taking on the identity as an innocent victim less important in universal welfare states, where many resources are distributed regardless of fault. Empirical studies have indicated that the percentage of victims that express that they need support is higher in countries with limited welfare states when compared to countries with extended welfare states (van Dijk, Kesteren, Mayhew, 2014).

13 1970s: The Women s Movement Men s violence against women blind spot in the Swedish welfare state. Emphasis on class, inequality, and poverty obscured issues related to violence. Compassion of the social democratic welfare state was an illusion. Bodily safety and integrity Important aspect of human rights and welfare 1978: First women s shelter opened Opened up the field of victim support. Put victimization on the agenda. (e.g. Wergens, 2014; Elman and Eduards 1991; Elman 2001)

14 1980: First victim support center opens in Malmö

15 Motivation behind the first center Create legitimacy for rehabilitative correctional policies and practices. Play a key role in crime prevention. If offenders are able to relate to their victims and see the pain they caused them, they are less likely to commit the crime in the future.

16 In the eyes of the public opinion, if the correctional system became too progressive, there was a risk of a backlash if victims of crime were not given attention. Therefore, the two parties must be highlighted parallel in order to gain public acceptance. Björn Lagerbäck

17 I remember when we opened in Malmö, in February 1980, I thought we would have to put up barricades for everyone that should be there, there had been so much media attention /.../. One person came, a prostituted woman who came in and wanted to warm herself before she started to work. Björn Lagerbäck

18 1984: First lasting victim support center opens in Södertälje

19 It was the encounter with an old lady who had had her purse snatched and after that did not dare to go out for a walk that really caught his [Svensson s] attention. He saw the consequences it had for her. And a lady who had had a burglary in her basement storage unit, which most people apparently regard as a trivial matter, but to her it was devastating, she felt really bad. From that, his thoughts and ideas developed. Eva Larsson

20 But where are the victims? The center opened an on-call program on Sundays in 1984, but since the response was non-existent, the center closed it down after less than three months. In 1985, only five victims visited the center in the entire year. (Victim Support Södertälje, 1984, p. 2)

21 1990s - Dramatic growth in victim support

22 A Welfare State and Voluntary Sector in Transformation Swedish model under increased criticism. Shift away from principles of universalism, prevention, and rehabilitation Transformation from a large public sector NGOs and private organizations gained acceptance and began deliver social services Some key events: 1986: Prime minister Olof Palme shot : Severe recession 1991: Center-right coalition win election, introduces cuts in welfare state


24 The Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority and the Crime Victim Fund

25 Gun Hellsvik and I used to say that we have a child together, and that is the Crime Victim Fund. Björn Lagerbäck

26 Well it was the right time to say it was the right time is wrong, but it it was a humanistic ambition that no one opposed. [ ] There weren t really any antagonists. Björn Lagerbäck

27 Results An unsolicited organization No victims calling for support No demands for their services Political interest justified the development and VSS became a success rather quickly VSS could fill a function in the decentralization and privatization of the Swedish welfare state that began in the 1980s. NGOs, such as VSS, were particularly of interest to policy makers as they represented civil society and gave connotations to positive humanitarian values.

28 Results Focus on support for victims. Emphasis on care, treatment, and information. Offenders and punishment almost absent. Self-define. No eligibility requirements for support. Distance to law enforcement. No examples where victims and offenders are portrayed as rival parties. Victim and offender overlap. Indirectly punitive: Instrumental in the creation of the 1994 Crime Victim Fund

29 End

30 Extra slides if time

31 The basic view of Swedish prison and probation services is that an offender that is found guilty of a serious crime should be reintegrated into a normal life through a series of societal initiatives. The aim is partly the humanitarian view that the offender and his family should be ensured an orderly way of life and social security. Partly that the support initiatives for the offender should give him and his family the conditions to earn a living and thus eventually also lower societal costs. (Statement law proposal 1990 p. 2)

32 Efforts to support crime victims should not be made at the expense of efforts to rehabilitate offenders VSS Annual Reports

33 Perpetrator and Victim Different Sides of the Same Coin On November 28, 2002 a seminar was held in collaboration with the National Association of Voluntary Community Workers, Swedish Prison Service Society, Stockholm Probation Officers and the Swedish Prison and Probation Service. Around 100 participants. VSS 2002 Annual Report p )

34 Victim Support believes that the legal system, if it can not protect its citizens from criminal abuse, has a moral obligation to provide all the help and support to crime victims, to enable them to return to the qualitative life they lived before the crime took place. ) Application for funding for project Support for young victims a human right, 2004

35 Victim impact statements On November 1, a new law about conversion of life imprisonment into fixed term came into force. The association's position is that, it is important that victims have the opportunity to talk about how the crime has impacted their life and if they have been subjected to further harassment or threats in any way. The association, however, does not believe that victims should have a say, if the life sentence should be converted into a fixed term or not. For many victims, this would pose as a burden. Victim Support Sweden (2006)

36 And then when it was my turn, I got the question about VSS perspective on whether or not victims should be able to influence early release. And there I said that we do not have any point of view, we do not consider it reasonable, not for victims either. And then I heard a big sigh [of relief] in the whole room (laughter). Some of the people I talked with afterwards thought we would prefer the victims to be involved [in sentencing], just like in the United States. But we differ from that point of view. Eva Larsson