Child protection did not do its job – woman awarded millions in compensation

Child protection did not do its job – woman awarded millions in compensation
Child protection did not do its job – woman awarded millions in compensation
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Reports of concern about house disturbances, intoxication, violence with the child present and theft were not enough for Oslo municipality to intervene. Now the municipality must pay NOK 1.2 million to a young woman.

The police announced that the then six-year-old girl was used by her mother to “deliberately steal from Stovner centre”. Nevertheless, it took a long time before the municipality took action. Photo: Ketil Blom Haugstulen (Archive image)

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Published: 03/02/2024 13:08

The short version

  • A woman who had a tough childhood has won a case against Oslo municipality. She receives NOK 1.2 million in compensation.

The summary is created with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and quality assured by Aftenposten’s journalists.

Short version is for subscribers only

The Oslo district court has recently ruled on a case where a woman in her 20s had taken legal action against Oslo municipality. According to the recent verdict, the woman had a very tough childhood.

The woman has now been awarded NOK 1.2 million in compensation.

According to the verdict, the child protection service first contacted the family when the girl was one year old. The case was dropped when the child welfare service believed there was no basis for assuming that her care situation was not satisfactory.

After that, the number of reports of concern gradually increased. In December 2005, there was a report of a house disturbance from a residence where there were adults who were drunk and fighting. There was broken glass all over the apartment and there were also six minor children in the home, including the woman who went to court.

Some of the reports of concern also concerned her being looked after by family members who were clearly intoxicated. Among others, she was looked after by an aunt who “had great difficulty walking”.

When the girl was six years old, the police reported that “the mother seemed to use the children deliberately to steal from Stovner centre”.

The woman belongs to the Roma national minority.

Took off in 2005

According to the judgment, there were far more frequent and serious messages of concern from mid-December 2005.

The messages related, among other things, to domestic disturbances, drunkenness and violence with the girl present, theft. She and her little brother were also observed out alone in the evening.

It was not until the autumn of 2008 that a decision was made to take over care for the girl. She first lived in an institution before being placed in a foster home.

In the judgment from the Oslo District Court, it appears that many messages of concern were sent without the girl getting enough help in the first years of her life. Now the municipality has to shell out nearly two million kroner.

In the judgment from the Oslo District Court, it appears that many messages of concern were sent without the girl getting enough help in the first years of her life. Now the municipality has to shell out nearly two million kroner. Photo: Stein J. Bjørge

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The woman has maintained in court that the municipality of Oslo acted negligently by failing to take over the care of her before 7 November 2008. This despite the fact that the municipality was aware that there was extensive neglect in the home.

She also believes that the child welfare service has neglected its duty to take adequate measures and has not looked after her best interests.

A central part of the compensation case is the mental disorders the woman believes the difficult upbringing has resulted in.

NOK 750,000 in legal costs

Oslo municipality acknowledged in court grounds for liability for a period of two and a half years before they took over the care. The municipality believes that it was only at the turn of the year 2005/2006 that they had concrete knowledge of her care situation which prompted them to take over care.

The District Court believes that it has been established that NN’s mental disorders are directly related to the neglect she experienced as a child.

“It has been established that the damage had already begun at the turn of the year 2005/2006, which is the time when there is a basis for liability in the case. The court refers here to the expert’s declaration that it is reasonable to assume that the damage began already in the autumn of 2002/spring 2003. The child protection service first intervened in the summer of 2008,” the judgment says.

The court also says that if the child protection service had intervened at the turn of the year 2005/2006, it is probable that she could have suffered a far less extensive injury than she has today.

In addition to compensation of NOK 1.2 million, the municipality must pay NOK 750,000 to cover the other party’s legal costs.

The municipal attorney: No comment

Lawyer Cecilia Dinardi has represented the woman in court. She is relieved that the woman has been heard in court.

– It has been a demanding process for her. It has been very important for her to be heard and for the court to clarify responsibility for the failure she experienced as a child. When will she be able to start the reconciliation process and look forward. She experienced serious neglect in a particularly vulnerable part of a child’s development, says Dinardi.

Cecilia Dinardi

She adds that it has been very demanding for the young woman to have her childhood reviewed in court.

– It has been an inhuman strain to be in court. She has had an incredibly tough time, says Dinardi.

Aftenposten has also asked for a comment from the Municipal Attorney in Oslo. Lawyer Espen Hansen at the Municipal Attorney writes in an SMS that they “have no comment from here”.

The municipal attorney refers further to Joacim Solum. He is head of child protection in the district of Søndre Nordstrand. It is one of several districts where the woman has lived growing up.

Solum could not say anything about the verdict on Friday evening because he has not familiarized himself with it.

Nor has a decision been taken on a possible appeal.

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: Child protection job woman awarded millions compensation

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