“Without Perpetrators, There's No Violence” Skip to content

“Without Perpetrators, There’s No Violence”

By Ragnar Tómas

Violent Crime Task Force
Photo: Photo by Stjórnarráðið.

Yesterday, at an open meeting held by the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, a list of proposals to assist perpetrators of violent crimes was introduced. “Without the offenders, there is no violence,” Eygló Harðardóttir, one of two members of a special task force entrusted with devising the proposals, stated.

Technology to play a key role

In May of last year, the Minister of Social Affairs Ásmundur Einar Daðason and Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir established a special task force on violent crime. The task force comprised the former Minister of Social Affairs Eygló Harðardóttir and Police Commissioner Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir, who introduced their proposals in an open meeting yesterday.

As noted on the government’s website, technology will play a pivotal role in the implementation of the proposals. Among the task force’s recommendations is the continued use of a risk-assessment system (B-Safer/SARA:SV), which the police has adopted to assess the danger of violence in close relationships to mitigate the risk of further crimes on behalf of perpetrators. An app will also be developed for these purposes. The task force further recommended the development of educational material and the provision of motivational phone calls between perpetrators and violence-prevention units, wherein the former are informed of useful resources.

Additionally, the task force suggested the development of a special risk-assessment system of sexual offences among adults. The system would calculate required assistance based on the number and severity of risk factors, which would serve to assist the police in their decision-making regarding the prevention of sexual offences – especially against children.

Furthermore, the task force recommended subsidies to Heimilisfriður (a treatment facility for individuals who have perpetrated domestic violence) and to psychologist Anna Kristín Newton to develop educational material for the website 112.is. Anna Kristín, in collaboration with her colleagues, is currently preparing to establish an organisation under the heading Taktu skrefið (Take the First Step) to assist individuals in their sexual behaviour and to cease sexual violence.

Trying to break the vicious circle

In an interview with RÚV yesterday, former Minister of Justice Eygló Harðardóttir stated that the task force had endeavoured to devise ways in which the authorities could prevent and more quickly intervene in violent crime. “If we consider the previously available resources, it’s clear that they weren’t sufficient. Without perpetrators, there is no violence; if we don’t have any offenders, we don’t have any victims.”

“It’s this vicious circle that we’re trying to break. The only way to do that is to offer the necessary resources, intervene more quickly, and cooperate. Preventing violence is something that all of us must work together toward,” Eygló stated.

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