Thursday, September 27, 2018

Feminicide across Europe: Norway

1 Terms and definition The term “Femicide” is not employed in Norwegian texts, unless in reference to international work, and would be viewed as a foreign term without resonance in the Norwegian language. A preference exists for Norwegian terms. The Norwegian term used in official documents is “partnerdrap” translated as “partner murder” or “partner killing”, where the partner may be a man or a woman. We also find the term “kvinnedrap” or women killing, although it refers to the wider category of women and is less specific about the offender. In practice, the statistics specify the gender of the victim and the offender as “Women killed by…” or “Men killed by”. To illustrate, in 2015, we can read that Norway had 22 murder cases, with 23 victims and 24 offenders. Ten of the victims were the partner/ex-partner of the offender. Nine of these were women killed by their husband (7), a cohabitant (1) or former cohabitant (1), while one man was killed by his female cohabitant (no men or women were killed by a divorced or separated partner). Criteria for registration as a partner killing are that the offender and victim were married, cohabitant, or had registered partnership at the time of the killing, or earlier, prior to the killing. The Norwegian statistics then include separated, divorced, former cohabitants and former partners. Lovers who never lived together are not included.

2 Sources
The category “partner killing” (with the subcategory of femicide) has been registered systematically from 1990 onwards. In 1998, the government decided to initiate research on partner killings and the Centre for security, prison and forensic psychiatry («Kompetansesenteret for sikkerhets-, fengsels-, og rettspsykiatri») with Ullevål University Hospital, Oslo, as the responsible research institution. A doctorate study mapped all partner killings in the period 1980-2008 and was part of the governmental Plan of Action “Turning Point” (“Vendepunkt”) on intimate partner violence. In 2015, we saw a second major and extensive report on Partner killing in Norway 1990-2012. A mixed method study of risk factors for partner killings (Partnerdrap i Norge 1990-2012. En mixed-methods studie av riskiofaktorer for partnerdrap) (S.K.Bø Vatnar) also appeared from Oslo University Hospital (OUS) and was linked up with The Government`s Plan of Action against violence in intimate relations, Turing Point 2008-2011 (Regjeringens handlingsplan mot vold i nære relasjoner, Vendepunkt 2008– 2011).                                                                                                                                                                         
Further, every January, Kripos (The national unit for combating organized and other serious crime) publishes annual national statistics on murders, including “partner murder”, based on Strasak (reviewed crimes), itself based on the Police’s own criminal records.                                                                         SSP (The Central Criminal and Police Enlightenment Register) is used to update the overview of convictions.
The Shelter Secretariat (Krisesentersekretariatet or KSS) established in 1994 is another source, working on policy issues and praxis. This organization works as a link between the various public authorities, shelters, media, national and international organisations, research institutions and society in general. It is well known from media and beyond, for its work on violence against women and survivors.
The Norwegian Authorities have released five national action plans to combat violence against women and in intimate relations (2000-2003, 2004-2007, 2008-2011, 2012, 2014-2017); one international action plan against rape (2012-2014); one national action plan to reach gender equality (2014); three national action plans against forced marriages and two against female genital mutilation (FGM); and three different action plans on fighting against human trafficking. These reflect, frame, initiate and legitimate the ongoing work to prevent and handle intimate partner violence and killing of women, with the two often linked. In relation to human trafficking, Norway reports to the European Organisation GRETA, and in 2015 submitted The Report, submitted by the Norwegian authorities on measures taken to comply with Committee of the Parties Recommendation CP(2013)6 on the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Being to the Secretariat of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. Their list of proposals to GRETA includes a Plan of Action against Trafficking, improved coordination, training of relevant professionals, annual meetings between relevant authorities and NGOs, new curriculum and special training in the Police, continued regular updating of the knowledge base for the Police, data collection and research, assistance measures for child and adult victims of trafficking.
(by Anne Ryen)

In order to fight feminicide/femicide, various Latin American and European countries have adopted increasingly specific laws and legal instruments that penalize feminicide. The ratification of the Belém do Pará Convention1 in Latin America and the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention2  in Europe, demonstrate an increasingly stronger international commitment against this kind of violence. The establishment of the Bi-regional Dialogue on Gender by the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as the adoption of the Urgent Resolution on Feminicide in the European Union and Latin America3 by the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) also express this commitment.    

However, legal norms, agreements, and international dialogues alone are not sufficient for the eradication of violence against women, nor its most extreme manifestation, feminicide.

Traditionally, States were only responsible for their own actions or those of their agents, but international public law has evolved and currently, the principle of due diligence makes the State responsible for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of violence, regardless of who commits the crime. The duty of due diligence obliges States to enter the private sphere, where historically, they have not intervened, but where the majority of cases of violence against women occur. 

Therefore, it is the duty of the State to take all necessary measures to prevent human rights violations, such as feminicide, before they occur. This means, on the one hand, adopting pertinent laws and policies to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish those guilty of abuse, and on the other hand, successfully implement them. 

Patricia Jiménez, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung – European Union, Brussels

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