According to foreign reports, disabled children are twice as likely to be abused sexually compared to healthy children. The Child Protection Agency in Iceland has been accused of not reacting efficiently to such reports.
Gerdur Aagot Árnadóttir, a physician and director of Throskahjálp, an organization supporting the disabled, claims the Agency has failed to protect disabled children because their rights are not acknowledged, Fréttabladid reports.
“It is important to inform the children as a precautionary measure, but that has been neglected. The Child Protection Agency has chosen to look past the fact that they are children; they only see the disability and feel the problem does not concern them,” Árnadóttir stated.
Árnadóttir said disabled children are often abused by the people who are supposed to be their guardians. “They find it more difficult to express themselves than other children and are therefore at higher risk.”
Rannveig Traustadóttir, director of the research department of disability at the University of Iceland, said it is important to investigate the issue more thoroughly.
Traustadóttir said recent reports on deaf children being abused at deaf school indicate disabled children in Iceland are also being abused at other institutions.
Brynhildur Flóvenz, a lawyer and the author of the book The Rights of the Disabled, said disabled rights are very weak in Iceland and authorities should react to foreign reports showing disabled people are more often victims of violence than what is commonly believed.
Bragi Gudmundsson, director of the Government Agency for Child Protection in Iceland, said foreign reports cannot be transferred to Icelandic society in full, because it is less common that disabled children live at institutions in Iceland than in other countries, where the risk of them being sexually abused is highest.
Gudmundsson said the Agency had recently begun registering violations against disabled children separately and he said the registration had yet to be completed.