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Several Ukrainian refugees have been exposed to violence in Norway and ended up in crisis centers – Dagsavisen

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, over 27,000 Ukrainian citizens have applied for asylum in Norway. Some of them have become victims of violence or abuse after arriving in the country that was supposed to give them protection.

At the Crisis Center in Moss, they have taken in three Ukrainian refugees so far this year. All have been victims of violence in close relationships, says the local crisis center manager, Arna Beate Hansen.

For reasons of privacy, she will not go into any detail about whether they have any relationship to each other or whether it is about three different cases.

Inger-Lise W. Larsen, general manager at the Crisis Center in Oslo. (Mimsy Møller)

At the Crisis Center in Oslo, they have had 18 Ukrainian refugees come in since Russia’s invasion. Of these, there were seven female residents with six children.

– In the main, it concerns women and children who have come to Norway alone, with boyfriends from other countries, says general manager Inger-Lise W. Larsen.

I don’t know how many people are talking about despite the multi-million grant

In spring, Ane Fossum, head of the Crisis Center Secretariat, went out in the media and said that there was a need to strengthen the country’s crisis centers with NOK 50 million, this to ensure a safe offer for women, men and children exposed to violence as a result of the Ukraine war. Later there was an additional grant from the government of NOK 16.3 million. It was distributed to half of the country’s 44 crisis centres, which were located near asylum reception centers or in areas where many refugees from Ukraine were expected to settle.

– The government wants to welcome the refugees from Ukraine in the best possible way, said Minister for Children and Families Kjersti Toppe (Sp) when the extra grant was announced in May.

The funds were given by the Directorate for Children, Youth and Families (Bufdir), but they have no record of how many Ukrainian refugees have ended up in a crisis center in Norway – and thus to what extent this money has been useful.

Nor does the Shelter Secretariat, which is an umbrella organization for the country’s shelters, have any overview of how many are involved.

However, both of these bodies assume that it is a small number.

– Our impression is that there has been little influx of Ukrainian refugees to the shelters. It is still too early to say whether this will continue, or whether there will be an increase, says Tove Bruusgaard, department director at Bufdir.

Crisis center

  • A crisis center is an offer for victims of violence or abuse from a partner, family or others with whom they have a close relationship.
  • In Norway, there are 44 shelters spread across the country.
  • The centers offer protection, safety, advice and guidance to women, men and children.
  • Getting help and staying at a shelter is free.
  • Last year, the country’s shelters had 1,795 adult and 1,442 minor residents.
  • Here you will find an overview of the country’s shelters and their contact information.

«Anne» kom seg ut av et voldelig forhold – nå tar hun livet tilbake  ]

These shelters have helped Ukrainians

In order to obtain an overview itself, Dagsavisen has been in contact with all 22 crisis centers that received money from the government as a result of the war. Not all centers have been willing or able to give us an exact figure on how many Ukrainian refugees have visited them. Our review nevertheless shows that most have helped Ukrainian refugees in the past six months.

Here is the overview:

  • Oslo Crisis Centre: Has had seven Ukrainian women and six children living with him. In addition, five women have made use of the centre’s day services. The center has also registered two human trafficking cases in which Ukrainian women were involved, but these cases date from before Russia invaded Ukraine.
  • Gudbrandsdal Crisis Centre: Has helped six people from Ukraine, both as residents and recipients of day care. Two of them were not refugees, but could not return home to Ukraine because of the war.
  • The crisis center in the Mosse region: Has helped three Ukrainian refugees who were subjected to violence in close relationships.
  • Drammen Crisis Centre: Has had two Ukrainian refugees living with him.
  • Trondheim Crisis Centre: There have been between one and five Ukrainian refugees here. For reasons of privacy, the center does not want to disclose the exact number.
  • Sørlandet Krisesenter: Some Ukrainian citizens have visited here, but the center does not want to comment on the exact number.
  • Crisis center in Molde and surroundings: Have had a few Ukrainian refugees drop by, but can’t put a concrete number on them.
  • Sarpsborg Crisis Centre: Here, Ukrainian refugees have made use of the crisis centre’s services, but for reasons of privacy, the center will not comment on how many there are or what kind of help they received. According to Dagsavisen’s understanding, it should be a small number.
  • Crisis center for Sunnmøre: Has had Ukrainian refugees, both as residents and recipients of day care. The center does not want to say exactly how many people have received help, but it is about less than five people.
  • The crisis center in Follo: States that they have had a few Ukrainian refugees drop by.
  • The crisis center in Vestfold: Have had contact with and helped one Ukrainian refugee.
  • Crisis center for Bergen and surroundings: Here, no Ukrainian refugees have needed to stay at the crisis centre, but some have made contact by phone and received guidance.
  • Crisis center for Tromsø and surroundings: Does not want to comment on figures, but says they have not noticed any change compared to before the war.

Nine shelters that have received financial support report that they have so far not had any Ukrainians visit them. Five are from Northern Norway:

Alta Crisis and Incest Centre, Crisis Center in Midt-Troms, Crisis Center in Salten, Vest-Finnmark Crisis Centre, Narvik and surrounding Crisis Centre. In addition, the crisis center in Stavanger, the crisis center Asker, Bærum and Lier, the Østre Agder crisis center and the Romerike crisis center report the same.

Many of the shelters say that they received the financial support in the middle of the summer holidays and that they have therefore only just started to use the funds. Most have started with information work aimed at Ukrainians. They therefore expect an increase in the number of Ukrainian refugees who contact them in the future.

Flere russere i Norge stiller opp for ukrainske flyktninger: – Føler et stort ansvar ]

Defends spending

Ane Fossum in the Crisis Center Secretariat believes that the money allocated to the crisis centers has been beneficial regardless of how many Ukrainian refugees have received help.

– A strengthening of the country’s crisis center offer is good, regardless. We must think of the crisis centers as part of Norway’s preparedness. It must always be equipped to deal with this type of situation, she believes.

Tove Bruusgaard, department director at Bufdir.

Tove Bruusgaard, department director at Bufdir. (Bufdir)

Department director Bruusgaard in Bufdir also believes it was necessary to strengthen the shelters.

– The vast majority of shelters have very poor finances and therefore we believe that there is a need for the grant. It is important to have preparedness in case the number of cases increases so that victims of violence can get the services they need. The funds enable the crisis centers to be able to assist with, among other things, conversations with people who are in crisis. Such a conversation offer can be useful for those exposed to violence in connection with the war and not only for those who are exposed to violence in close relationships, she says.

Fossum believes that the number of Ukrainian refugees in need of help will increase over time.

– Many women and children have come to Norway alone. As the men also begin to arrive and start a new life here in Norway, more situations may arise, she says.

Ukrainian refugees who live in private homes are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, says Line Ruud Vollebæk, adviser at RVTS Øst.

Ukrainian refugees who live in private homes are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, says Line Ruud Vollebæk, adviser at RVTS Øst. (Kenneth Stensrud)

Particularly vulnerable group

On Tuesday 20 September, a professional day was held in Moss on violence and abuse, where health workers and other professional groups who can meet victims of this had made the trip.

One of the lecturers was Line Ruud Vollebæk, adviser at RVTS Øst, which has human trafficking as one of its specialist fields. She sees Ukrainian refugees as a particularly vulnerable group when it comes to the risk of being exploited.

She explains this, among other things, by the fact that many Ukrainians have been taken in by volunteers and settled in private homes after they arrived in Norway.

– Those who live in private homes are particularly vulnerable and can at the same time feel a debt of gratitude, she says.

Nevertheless, Vollebæk considers Ukrainian refugees to be less vulnerable than other newly arrived refugees to the country. Among other things, because Ukrainians had a faster, and often safer, migration journey than others. And not least because they have received collective protection and thus also a safer path towards a residence permit in Norway.

– It is extremely important. If you don’t have a residence permit and permission to work, you can become much more isolated, says Vollebek.

Diana (42) og datteren Daria (3) flyktet til Norge fra Ukraina – i hjemladet kjemper familiefaren mot den russiske invasjonen ]

Immigrants are overrepresented

Lill Marie Tollerud, who is also a special adviser in RVTS, gave a lecture during the same conference in Moss. She mentioned that refugees often have a small network around them and can therefore be isolated from society to a greater extent.

– A perpetrator of violence can often be the only person a victim of violence has around them. Many are very dependent on perpetrators of violence, she told those present.

Arna Beate Hansen, general manager at the Crisis Center in Moss.

Arna Beate Hansen, general manager at the Crisis Center in Moss. (Kenneth Stensrud)

She also pointed out that a lack of language skills is a factor that puts people in the risk group for violence.

– If you are new to Norway, a lack of knowledge and trust in the system can make it difficult to speak up, she said.

At the Crisis Center in Moss, they are well used to residents not having Norwegian as their mother tongue. Managing director Arna Beate Hansen estimates that between 60 and 70 per cent of their residents have a minority background.

– The reason for this is mainly that they do not have the same network as Norwegians. In addition, it is difficult to get help from family and friends if you have a cultural background where it is very shameful – and perhaps even forbidden – to leave your spouse, she says.

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About the Obligation to Avoid

§ 196 of the Criminal Code describes the duty to prevent. It applies to everyone, and cancels any duty of confidentiality. You can prevent violent and sexual offenses by reporting to the police or child welfare, or by helping the victim to safety, for example to a crisis centre, hospital or another safe place.

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: Ukrainian refugees exposed violence Norway ended crisis centers Dagsavisen

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