One of Norway’s top child-protection policy experts, Jo Erik Brøyn, was sentenced to prison under the country’s child pornography laws. His arrest further discredits Norway’s Child Protection Services.
(First published in Sunday Guardian of India on May 12th. Republished with permission from Marianne Haslev Skånland and Jan Simonsen)
A child psychiatrist and top child protection expert, 56-year-old Jo Erik Brøyn, who in 2010 became the single father to two Indian surrogate babies, has been sentenced to nearly two years’ jail under Norway’s child pornography laws.
Brøyn was found guilty of possessing and sharing an enormous quantity of material—about 200,000 pictures and 4,000 hours of video—showing children subjected to brutal sexual abuse. The indictment against Brøyn reads:
'Pictures and videos show sexual abuse committed by adults against children, sexual acts between children, and children performing sexual acts on themselves.'
This case is symptomatic of the Norwegian child protection services (CPS) system (known as 'Barnevernet') and our authorities’ attitude to it. It demonstrates the double standards of what people in authority do and say in relation to the strict legislation regarding children that they themselves promote and through which they exercise power.
In connection with the court case against Brøyn this year, once again an expert has been appointed to assess the possible consequences to his own two children. .......
....of the situation of his/her fellow expert’s children is that the father is trustworthy, not likely to be any danger to them although they will shortly be of an age which has been the preferred age group for his picture and video searches, and that it is the penal system and the CPS which will be harmful to them? These observations are interesting, since the army of psychological professionals employed by the CPS normally hold the interference of the CPS and themselves into families to be a trivial burden, or no burden at all, on children and parents alike 'if the care is found on investigation to be good'. Likewise, they normally hold the removal of children from their parents’ care to be utterly good for the children if the psychological experts and the social workers 'think' so.
Unfortunately so far there is no sign of any question from the sections of government in charge—the Ministry of Children and Equality, the Ministry of Health and Care Services or the CEC—regarding whether this case has a bearing on the general way the CPS is regulated and run, or regarding the reliability and scientific basis of the work of the CEC.