From Iceland — Violence Against Disabled Icelanders A "Black Spot On Society"

Violence Against Disabled Icelanders A “Black Spot On Society”

Published January 21, 2021

John Pearson
Photo by
Doug Maloney via Unsplash

The Icelandic government has recognised that disabled victims of violence across the country receive inadequate support.

The government-convened Action Team Against Violence published its findings on the subject yesterday. Commenting on them, Minister of Justice Áslaug Árna Sigurbjörnsdóttir described the issue as a “black spot in our society,” Visir reports.

One problem is the inability of police systems to record information on an individual’s disability status. The report recommends an overhaul of police systems to allow this, although that would need to be achieved while still respecting the privacy of individuals.

The report also calls for educational programmes within both the police and the disabled community. Police staff need to be made more aware of how violence within the disabled community might manifest itself in less obvious ways, and the community needs to understand what resources and options are available to it.

Áslaug Árna stated that disabled victims are perhaps less likely to report crimes, and possibly feel less confident that they will be believed and treated seriously.

“Their cases are less likely to go to court, and the system needs to be better managed so that their cases can be heard,” she said. “Education is absolutely key.”

The minister confirmed that the next steps are for police and education authorities to respond to the findings of the report.

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