LVU – Lagen om Vård av Unga och socialtjänstens systemfel

Den text som följer utgörs av kap 15 ”Socialtjänsten – uppdrag, makt och etik” i Lena Hellblom Sjögren: Barnets rätt till familjeliv. 25 svenska fallstudier av föräldraalienation, 2012, 2013.

Socialtjänsten har ansvaret för samhällsvården av barn

Barnets vårdnadshavare har en rätt och en skyldighet att bestämma i frågor som rör barnets personliga angelägenheter (6 kap. 1 § FB). Har barnet två vårdnadsutredare skall de tillsammans utöva bestämmanderätten (6 kap. 13 § FB).

I mer sällsynta fall tas vårdnadsansvaret över av samhället. i landet som helhet finns ca 10 000 barn omhändertagna jml LVU, Lag med särskilda bestämmelser om vård av unga, och ca 10 000 barn som befinner sig i fri- villig samhällsvård, enligt SoL, Socialtjänstlagen, ibland under hot om att det annars blir tvångsvård jml LVU.

LVU används ibland för att avskilja ett barn från den ena föräldern och samtidigt placera barnet hos den andra föräldern (exempel är Alice tidigare och Olle nedan).

Barn flyttas oftast från sina familjer till främmande familjer som kallas familjehem, eller Hem för Vård och Boende, HVB. Termen familjehem, används trots att innebörden är att flytta barnet från barnets familj, det är en anmärkningsvärd namnändring, som sociologen Stefan Carlsson påpekade 1995. (not 20)

För dessa vårdformer finns inte resurser för uppföljningar av de placerade barnen, trots de anvisningar som finns om sådan uppföljning. ibland placeras barnen i institutionsvård, vilket illustreras i fallstudien om Karl och Lotta i nästa kapitel.

Många tjänar pengar på de sårbara, utlämnade och rättslösa barnens situation. Placeringarna hjälper oftast inte barnen som placeras, utan medför allvarliga risker och skador statistiskt sett, det visar den forskning som redovisats (se tidigare kapitel).

I de svåra vårdnadskonflikter som kan uppstå då barn omhändertagits, utan att det funnits en grund i allvarligt missbruk, allvarlig psykisk sjuk- dom, dokumenterad vanvård eller dokumenterade fysiska eller sexuella övergrepp, blir det mycket svårt för den från barnet separerade föräldern att hjälpa barnet mot den påverkan barnet utsätts för att bli avstånds- tagande till denna förälder.

När socialtjänsten är part i en vårdnadskonflikt och det är fråga om ett icke sakligt grundat omhändertagande, anses ändå det som socialtjänsten gör och säger vara förenligt med barnets bästa, eftersom socialtjänsten är myndigheten som har ansvaret för att bedöma barnets bästa.

Den förälder som inte tillåts träffa sina barn, eller endast tillåts träffa barnen under övervakning på plats och tid bestämd av socialtjänsten, inte tillåts ringa sina barn, annat än om socialtjänsten så tillåter på en viss tid, har mycket svårt att göra något åt den alienationsprocess som pågår och som skadar barnet.

Om den av socialtjänsten avskilda föräldern framför sin oro för barnet, kan ännu hårdare umgängesrestriktioner sättas in. Efter en tillräckligt långt tid av bruten kontakt, kan socialtjänsten överföra vårdnaden från den förälder som de har både makt och rätt att döma ut som förälder.

Socialtjänsten som föräldrapart i sådana svåra vårdnadskonflikter skadar barnet genom att till barnet förmedla en bild av mamman/pappan som farlig. Det kan ske genom umgängesrestriktioner som t.ex. motiveras så här:

* din mamma är så farlig för dig att du bara får träffa henne, om någon av oss eller en av familjehemsföräldrarna är med, eller

* din pappa kan göra dumma saker mot dig så det är bäst för dig att du bara träffar honom då någon annan är med och kan övervaka allt som sker.

 

Att stärka det omhändertagna barnets ställning enligt nya förslag

Den s.k. Barnskyddsutredningen tillsattes 2007 med Kerstin Wigzell som ansvarig utredare. Syftet var att öka skyddet för de utsatta barnen.

Wigzell kom år 2009 med sin rapport, där hon föreslog en utökad betydelse för socialtjänsten och de av socialtjänsten utsedda fosterföräldrarna. Hon föreslog också att SoL och LVU skulle föras ihop i en ny lag som hon kallade, LBU, Lag om stöd för barn och unga.21 Maria Larssons pressekreterare sammanfattade förslagen i ett pressmeddelande den 16 juli 2009, varur citeras:

”Socialtjänsten ska kunna följa upp ett barns situation, även när föräldrarna motsätter sig detta, om det finns befogad oro för att barnet far illa samtidigt som laglig grund för tvångsåtgärder saknas …

Varje barn som omhändertas ska få en egen socialsekreterare, som ska besöka barnet minst fyra gånger per år och så långt som möjligt föra enskilda samtal med barnet. Socialsekreteraren ska ha ett särskilt ansvar för att följa vården av barnet och för kontakten med barnet under omhändertagandet …

Familjehemsföräldrar som övertar vårdnaden om ett barn ska ha rätt till fortsatt stöd från den kommun som placerat barnet i hemmet. En överflyttning av vårdnaden till familjehemsföräldrarna innebär ett starkare skydd för barn som långsiktigt behöver bo kvar i familjehemmet. Familjehemsföräldrar kan idag tveka inför en vårdnadsöverflyttning med hänvisning till att man är orolig för att förlora socialtjänstens stöd.”

Det kan, mot bakgrund av den forskning och de dokumenterade erfarenheter som finns, starkt ifrågasättas om flera socialsekreterare med ökade befogenheter kan öka barns trygghet, skydd och hälsa, samt garantera barnen god skolgång.

Det är dessutom ett faktum att det råder stor omsättning bland socialsekreterare. Familjevårdens Centralorganisation, FACO, har i enkätsvar till Socialstyrelsen senhösten 2010 inom projektet ”Barn och unga i familje- hem” listat en lång rad problem och åtgärdsförslag. De tar där upp den stora omsättningen av socialsekreterare, de skriver:

”Omsättningen av socialsekreterare är alltför stor för att man ska kunna få förtroende för varandra. Vid varje byte av socialsekreterare försvinner en del av barnets historia. På en del socialkontor är omsättningen så stor att familjehemmet inte vet vem som handlägger ärendet.”

FACO:s åtgärdsförslag var att det skall vara två handläggare, att barnet ska ha en egen barnsekreterare och föräldrarna sin egen socialsekreterare.

 

 

Socialtjänstens stöd till fosterhemmen inkluderar ekonomisk ersättning, som i de fall jag studerat, varit ett viktigt motiv för att låta främmande barn bo i familjen. Ersättningen (grovt ca 11 000 per månad) är uppdelad i en omkostnadsdel och en beskattningsbar arvodesdel.

Ersättningen kan bli högre om det är ett barn med problem (som det blir om barnet får en diagnos eller t.ex. tros ha varit utsatt för misshandel eller sexuella övergrepp). Det finns ett stort antal förmedlingar och företag som förmedlar s.k. familjehem, kontaktfamiljer, jourhem, och plats på s.k. HVB-hem (Hem för Vård och Boende). Lönsamheten är, vad jag känner till, god (se exempel på ersättning i fallet Daniel nedan).

Falkenbergs kommun skrev ett förtydligande (den 25 november 2009) vad som gäller placering i det som nu kallas familjehem med anledning av Kerstin Wigzells utredning.

Efter att ha konstaterat att man inom kommunen följer SKL:s riktlinjer avseende ersättning för familjehemsvård, skrev man:

”Barnskyddsutredningen (SOU 2009:68) som föreslår en ny och samlad lagstiftning för barn och ungdom, lyfter fram familjehemmens centrala roll. Behov och krav på utbildning och stöd betonas. Vi kan därför räkna med att familjehem fortsatt kommer att utgöra främsta placeringsalternativet då barn inte längre kan bo med sina biologiska föräldrar.”

I flera inlägg som kommenterat Barnskyddsutredningen sägs att den har: ”tagit flera viktiga steg mot en lagstiftning som stärker barnets ställning”. Emellertid innebär detta förslag framför allt att socialtjänstens ställning ytterligare förstärks.

Att maktställningen för socialtjänstens handläggare stärks är inte identiskt med att barnets ställning stärks. Det förväntade resultatet bör bli det motsatta så länge socialtjänstens handläggare får fortsätta arbeta utan standardiserade metoder och klara riktlinjer för sitt arbete, och med lagens stöd att göra sina egna bedömningar på underlag som inte är offentligt, d.v.s. som inte ens behöver redovisas för den beslutet gäller.

 

 

”Trygg och säker” samhällsvård?

Socialstyrelsen fick i februari 2010 direktiv att ta fram ”ett program för trygg och säker vård i familjehem för vård och boende” (not 22), från direktiven citeras:

Rapport från Riksdagens revisorer, Riksrevisionen, länsstyrelsernas tillsyn inom ramen för det så kallade barnuppdraget, Vanvårdsutredningen (SOU 2009:99) samt Upprättelseutredningen (SOU 2011) har alla visat på att det funnits och fortfarande finns påtagliga brister i samhällsvården. För att skapa förtroende för samhällsvården är det angeläget att vidta åtgärder för att förebygga övergrepp och försummelse i samhällsvården inom alla delar.”

Trots de genom forskning dokumenterade riskerna för stora skadeverkningar på barnet som omhändertas i samhällsvård, och trots de kartlagda metodbristerna och avsaknaden av standardiserade bedömningsinstrument, föreslås ökat inflytande för socialtjänstens handläggare att ingripa till ”skydd för barnen” – också mot deras ena förälder, se nedan.

Allt flera uppdrag påläggs socialnämnden, i praktiken de handläggande socialsekreterarna

Socialtjänstens handläggare, formellt socialnämnden, påläggs allt flera uppdrag, t.ex. uppdraget att göra riskbedömningar som underlag för domstolarnas beslut om barnets vårdnad, boende och umgänge. Detta uppdrag blev tydligare i och med den förändrade lagstiftningen i juli 2006 (se tidigare kapitel om att utreda barnets bästa).

i den proposition som föregick lagändringen (not 23), står om att barnets

rätt till båda sina föräldrar inte innebär att barnet måste leva eller umgås med en förälder under alla förhållanden. Ett påstående om övergrepp skall beaktas även om t.ex. polisens förundersökning har lagts ned (vilket är i strid med utslag från Europadomstolen).

Uppdraget att utreda barnets behov av skydd mot barnets ena eller båda föräldrar har nyligen pålagts socialtjänstens handläggare.

Ett nytt lagförslag presenterades i februari 2011 om att socialnämnden skall kunna besluta att gå den ena förälderns vilja till mötes om t.ex. BUP-utredning/ behandling för barnet, mot den andra förälderns vilja. Bakom förslaget finns, liksom alltid, goda intentioner om att öka skyddet för barn som far illa eller riskerar att fara illa.

Att socialnämnden ska få denna utvidgade beslutsmakt innebär att det är socialtjänstens handläggare, d.v.s. de redan hårt arbetsbelastade social- sekreterarna, som påläggs ännu ett ansvar – och ännu en maktfunktion.

Detta förslag, om det realiseras, ger ännu större utrymme än i dag, för den förälder som vill avskilja barnet från den andra föräldern att göra detta.

En förälder som i samband med en svår vårdnadskonflikt binder barnet till sig och arbetar för att avskilja barnet från den andra föräldern, inte så sällan med hjälp av ogrundade anklagelser om psykisk störning, om psykisk press mot barnet eller övergrepp, söker, och får, ofta allierade inom socialtjänsten i sin strävan att vinna egen kontroll över barnet.

Om en handläggare, allierad med den ena föräldraparten, eller eventuellt själv föräldrapart så som socialtjänsten är i LVU-fallen, remitterar barnet till BUP och BUP uttalar att barnet inte vill träffa mamma/pappa, förstärks alienationen. BUP-personal har, vad jag kunnat observera oftast inte kunskaper om föräldraalienation och vill inte heller ha det. (not 24)

Därmed kan de mot bättre vetande bidra till att den avskiljande förälderns position stärks och till att barnet skadas, inte minst långsiktigt, se tidigare kapitel.

Genom att en handläggare, allierad med den ena föräldraparten, eller eventuellt själv föräldrapart, fattar ett beslut om att barnet skall till t.ex. BUP, och BUP-personal, som enligt vad jag kunnat observera inte har kunskaper – och kanske inte vill ha kunskaper – om hur föräldraalienation går till, uttalar att barnet inte vill träffa mamma/pappa som i t.ex. fallstudien om Hans och Nils, stärks den avskiljande och anklagande föräldrapartens position – med risker för att barnet på olika sätt skadas, inte minst långsiktigt, se tidigare kapitel.

 

 

 

Etiska dilemman

Socialtjänstens handläggare har både ett s.k. problemformuleringsprivilegium och ett tolkningsföreträde. Det är inget problem i förhållande till de intressenter som samarbetar med eller är beroende av socialtjänsten, som fosterhemsföräldrar som får uppdrag av socialtjänsten, eller BUP som bl.a. mottar remisser från socialsekreterare, och således också har socialtjänsten som sina uppdragsgivare, och även samarbetar i barnahus m.m.

Men det utgör ett stort problem för de föräldrar, såväl mammor som pap- por, som av någon anledning – ofta inte sakligt underbyggd – dömts ut av socialtjänsten. Dessa föräldrar kan inte hävda sitt barns bästa. Det de säger får inte något genomslag, de har ingen auktoritet. De fråntas sin föräldraauktoritet.

Utifrån socialtjänstens problemformulering är det mammor och pappor som själva orsakar att deras barn avskiljs från dem. I socialtjänstens problemformulering och i de handläggande socialsekreterarnas perspektiv finns inte barnets lagliga och mänskliga rätt till familjeliv som ett fundament för dem att arbeta utifrån, trots att detta betonats av Socialstyrelsen. (not 25)

Både barn och föräldrar saknar handlingsalternativ, medan social- tjänstens handläggare kan välja hur de vill handla, de är myndighetspersoner och har tvångsmedel till sitt förfogande, barn och föräldrar har inga tvångsmedel visar det sig när man gör en etisk analys.26

Sammanfattningsvis

• Mor/far som inte är allierad med socialtjänsten är en intressent i avsak- nad av maktmedel.

• Barnen saknar också maktmedel.

• Socialtjänsten, och de av socialtjänsten utvalda ställföreträdande föräld- rarna och de av socialtjänsten anlitade sakkunniga, har maktresurser.

 

 

Per definition kan inte socialtjänsten göra fel, eftersom socialtjänsten har:

* makten att formulera vad som är problem,

* makten att få sanktion för sin problemformulering,

* makten att verkställa de åtgärder som problemformuleringen lett till,

* och därefter makten att utvärdera och

* makten att tolka resultatet av sina egna åtgärder –

* till stöd för den egna problemformuleringen.

Ur ett etiskt perspektiv utgör dock dessa ojämna maktförhållanden ett problem, även ur ett rättssäkerhetsperspektiv i ett demokratiskt rättssamhälle.

Det går att förutsäga att den eller de som sätter frågetecken eller kritiserar socialtjänsten kommer att bli utan framgång, eftersom systemet bygger på, och förutsätter, att socialtjänstens problemformulering och åtgärder är för barnets bästa.

Den som hävdar barnets mänskliga rättigheter till familjeliv och till bevarad identitet kan inte i det rådande systemet vinna framgång eftersom principen om barnets bästa skall följas – och de som uttolkar vad som är barnets bästa är socialtjänstens handläggare, tillsammans med dem som socialtjänsten väljer att samarbeta med eller att åberopa.

Någon allmängiltig definition av barnets bästa byggd på lagstiftning och barnets mänskliga rättigheter används inte. Att det finns olika uppfattningar om vad som ska läggas in i begreppet barnets bästa framgår på många sätt och i många olika sammanhang. Nedan ges ett exempel, det är vad som står i den s.k. ”Vårdguiden” på nätet under rubriken ”Barnets bästa i fokus”:

”Barnets bästa är det som kommer först i alla sammanhang. Det innebär t.ex. att ett barn har rätt att både träffa och slippa träffa en förälder.”

Socialtjänstens handläggande socialsekreterare har pålagts ansvaret att uttolka lagar, regelverk och anvisningar – utifrån en relativistisk grund som inte ger dem vägledning utan carte blanche för deras egna subjektiva och relativistiska bedömningar vad gäller det enskilda barnets bästa, bedömningar som ofta blir livsavgörande för barnet, och som det sällan finns möjligheter att korrigera.

Noter:

20 . Stefan Carlsson: Socialtjänstens kompetens och funktion, 1995.

21. SOU 2009:68.

22. Direktiv från Maria Larsson, Regeringskansliet den 24 februari 2011, S2011/1809/FST.

23. Proposition 2005/06:99: Nya vårdnadsregler.

24. Ett exempel är barnpsykiatern Anders Brynge som i PsykologTidningen 2008:10, skrev att PAS inte finns, och att det jag hade skrivit om företeelsen i numret innan under rubriken ”Behöver psykologen bry sig om PAS?” skulle läsas som en ”saga”. Rubriken på hans inlägg var ”Läs artikeln om PAS som en saga”. Ingen psykolog från BUP, eller från något annat verksamhetsfält kom med något uppföljande inlägg.

25. Socialstyrelsen, ”Handläggning och dokumentation inom socialtjänsten”, 3:e revide- rade upplagan 2010, s. 18.

26. Se Statens Medicin-Etiska Råd: Etiska vägmärken 1. Etik – en inroduktion, 2002, s. 53.

Parental alienation – conditional love and forced rejection

From a book, published after the fourth international conference organized by ISIPAR, International Society for Interpersonal Acceptanceand Rejection,  in Chandigarh, India. in January 2013:

2015. Machado, Marcia, Machado, Fransisco (Eds.)New Paths for Acceptance: Opening Awareness in Interpersonal Acceptance-Rejection, Brown Walker Press.

Abstract

This article originates from a research project in which 60 authentic high conflict separation cases were investigated between 1991-2011. These were cases in which the author, based on an analysis of many documents over time, had, in every single case, identified two conditions: a) a child´s sudden and implacable fear and/or hostility towards a former loved parent from whom the child had been separated, with this parent not having used violence or sexually abused the child; b) a parental figure (a parent or social services´ employees with parental authority) who had influenced the child, in actions and in words, to reject contact with the parent from whom the child had been separated. The fundamental question was: What are the consequences for the child?  The two cases presented in this chapter illustrate the situation of about 6000 Swedish children and 5000 Norwegian children every year, who, when the adults have separated, are not allowed by one parent to receive love and acceptance from the other. The empirically founded conclusion, supported by studies of parental loss from different research fields, is that the children thus treated are severely harmed.

Key words: parental alienation, parental loss, mental abuse, legal and human right to family life

Thanks to Marcia Machado for her help to improve the author´s English text based on my lecture held in Chandigarh, India, January 2013. Marcia Machado is responsible for editing the book (in press) documenting this 4th international  ISIPAR- conference. ISIPAR – International Society for Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection (www.isipar.org)

 

”Two things shall be given to the child from the parents, roots and wings.”

A wise wording of unknown source

 

The purpose of this article is to explore what is known to be the child´s deepest need, legal and human right, the right to family life, and the consequences of not fulfilling this need while violating the child´s legal and human rights. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the author has worked as an investigative, forensic psychologist and a researcher, mostly in severe custody conflicts and/or criminal sexual abuse cases in Sweden, but also in Norway, and exceptionally in some other countries. More and more of the investigated high conflict separation cases involved a parent who wanted to take control over the children, and who appeared to be driven by an implacable hostility towards the other parent. The parental alienation processes consist of influencing the children to become hostile and to reject the other parent without justified cause, and these processes have not, so far, been understood by family experts and by the family law system in Sweden and Norway.

Many experts in other countries consider it mental or emotional abuse when a child, without justification, is separated from a loved and loving parent and influenced to reject him/her (Bernet, 2010; Lorandos, Bernet, Sauber, 2013). The empirically observed phenomenon of parental alienation can be seen as mental kidnapping (Richardson, 2006).

In order to have the controlling parent´s love, and fearful of losing that love, these unjustifiably separated children are forced to reject the other parent. Thus the love they receive is conditional (Baker, 2010) and their human rights are severely violated (Paricard, 2014).

According to a Danish judge (Danielsen, 2004), two instances can be identified when it would be appropriate to separate a child from a parent:

  1. When the child is experiencing physical violence and/or abuse from a parent.
  2. When one parent demonstrates implacable hostility towards the other parent, i.e. mental abuse.

Instance number two has not yet been implemented in the legal system. Thorough investigations are needed, since standardized methods are missing in the work with families in both Sweden and Norway. The research done by Ronald Rohner and his colleagues for over more than four decades with developed and standardized methods measuring the child´s perception of the parent´s behavior (Rohner, Khaleque & Cournoyer, 2012) can, in our opinion, be of utmost importance if used in regular work with families involved in separation and custody conflicts.

A Child´s Fundamental Need: to be Loved and Accepted

A child needs acceptance/love from his or her parents and extended families to grow healthy and to develop into a whole person. We know this from global human experience, and it is confirmed by worldwide research (Khaleque & Rohner, 2012). When John Bowlby searched for the most appropriate term to describe the fundamental ground stone for the child´s development he tried “love” and “tie”, before choosing “bonding” (Bowlby & McIntosh, 2011, p.556). The child´s fundamental need to be loved/accepted is met by the ties of love that usually develop between the child and the ones that are close and taking care of the child, mostly the parents. Through these ties the child develops into a moral human being. When a parent´s love is, instead, conditional the child can be severely harmed and the whole family can need professional help (Baker & Sauber, 2013; Tejedor Huerta, Molina Bartumeus & Vàzquez Orellana, 2013).

In Norway and Sweden, the statistics tell us that about half of the parental relationships are ended through separation. In most cases ways of finding every day routines where the child can have regular contact with both parents are found. In some cases, about 10% however, the parents fight over the children (Rejmer, 2003), and this corresponds to the estimated general prevalence rate of alienation (Fidler, Bala & Saini, 2013). The children in these high conflict cases, in which one parent demonstrates implacable hostility towards the other, are not allowed to show their love for both parents.

Follow-up studies of children who have, in war situations, been separated from their parents, (as for example 70 000 Finnish war children who during the years 1939-1945 were separated from their parents and brought to Sweden), demonstrated that separation was very traumatic and harmful (Edvardsen, 1977;  Räsänen, 1990).

Wasserman (2005) found that one of the most stressful incidents for a child is to be separated from one or both parents. In a meta-study (Segerström &  Milller, 2004)  contemplating more than 300 empirical studies on stress over 30 years it was concluded that chronic stressors, not natural ones (as for example a test or an exam), change the immune system. Our hypothesis, enforced by new research in Sweden on children in stressful situations (Carlsson, Frostell, Ludvigsson, & Faresjö, 2014), is that being influenced  to reject a former loved parent not to lose the other parent´s love constitutes a chronic stressor that  influences the child´s immune system negatively.

Research on alcoholism has shown that loss of a parent during adolescence, for other reasons than the parent´s death, is a risk factor for becoming dependent on alcohol (Kendler, Sheth, Gardner, & Prescott, 2002).

Antisocial behavior is another problem that may affect children who are deprived of positive an emotional closeness to parents (BRÅ, 2001; Popenoe, 2009). In Canada (Lesage et al, 1994)  found a relation between experiences of losing a parent when  children were 6-10 years old, and the development of both borderline personality disorder and suicide.

A study of a little more than 1000 female twins (Kendler et al, 1992) revealed a growing risk for severe depression among those who had been separated from a parent for reasons other than the parent´s death. A research team in Israel has shown (Agid et al, 1999) that the probability to develop severe depression (also bipolar illness and schizophrenia) as an adult grows in a way that cannot be explained by coincidence, if you as a child have been separated from a parent before the age of 17.

Absence from school, being expelled from school, ending of studies, smoking, drinking, drugs, and teenage pregnancies are some of what has been reported to have been found more often among children brought up without a father (Daughty, 2011).

In a Norwegian study ( Frizell Reiter, Simone, Hjörleifsson, Breidablik, & Meland, 2013) based on questions to pupils, most of them 15-17 years old, the conclusion was that for those who kept contact with both parents after the parents´ separation  no emotional distress had been reported.

Children in severe custody conflicts who are separated from a parent, or both parents,  as sometimes happens in forced custody cases (Hellblom Sjögren, 2006), are mostly cut off from a regular contact with the non-resident parent. Thus the child is cut off from the kind of contact the child needs for a healthy development.

To summarize: based on science and empirical observations the most fundamental need of the child, so as not to be harmed physically and/or mentally, is to have love/acceptance from both parents in close contact with them both. The child needs to feel that he/she is allowed to love both parents, and that it is not necessary to reject one of the parents to be able to keep the other parent´s love, the essence of conditional love.

The Child´s Legal Right to Close Contact with Both Parents

The child has a legal right to keep close contact with both parents as long as the parents have not severely physically abused or severely maltreated the child, which is the foundation for the development of the co-operation model developed from 1992 in Cochem, Germany (Gorges, 2005).

The psychological abuse of the child, such as the effect of depriving the child from contact with a parent, is not understood, and thus not accepted, until very  recently and only occasionally, in verdicts from Norway and Sweden; here is an example from a court of appeal in the north of Sweden ( Hovrätten För Nedre Norrland, 2013).

“Independently of what the daughter could have expressed regarding her will to see her father the court  is of the  opinion that there is no foundation to expect something else than that she, as most children, has a need of a close and good contact also with her father. By restraining the daughter from getting a close contact with her father without acceptable reasons, the mother has evidently not lived up to her responsibility as a parent. Moreover there is an impending risk that the mother also in the future will act accordingly. The preconditions for the daughter to have a good relation with her father therefore appear as small if the mother is sole custodian for her.”

In the text above father can be read as mother (or with the social services as is the case when children are taken into forced custody without any substantial foundation). But still there are more children alienated from their fathers than from their mothers.

Fidler et al. (2013, p. 237)  discuss an example from 2005, which similarly demonstrates the insight that is needed by the court, to be able to help the child out of a psychological and emotional abuse situation with an alienating parent, in this case also a mother:

“The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal affirmed a trial judge´s finding that the mother had ´demonized´ the father to the children, and that they were emotionally abused. The boys told the custody evaluator that they wished to stay with their mother, and the trial judge expected that they would suffer ´some immediate trauma and grief ´ as a result of the custody variation. Nevertheless, the judge concluded that this was ´one of those rare and exceptional cases where drastic action was required to meet the best interests of the children´, and transferred custody to the father.”

 

The Child´s Human Right to Family Life

The right to family life is a human right according to the UN convention of the Rights of the Child (article 16), and also according to article 8 in the European Convention on Human Rights, where it says:

“1.   Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

  1. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

In the UN convention on the Rights of the Child article 9:3 it also says that the child has the right “to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child´s best interests.” When a child is deprived of contact with a loved parent, often, as demonstrated in practice (Andre & Baker, 2009), the child feels rejected. This, if going on for long, harms the child´s identity, and constitutes a violation of the children´s human right to maintain their identity. That right is articulated in article 8 in the UN convention on the Rights of the Child, where it in section two says:

Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, State Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection with a view to speedily re-establishing his or her identity.”

It is not, as in Brasil  (Lei No.12.318, 2010), in any European country yet seen as a crime to alienate a child from a parent, thus harming the child and violating the child´s legal and human right to close contact with both parents and accordingly the right to keep his or her identity.

If one parent over time has demonstrated a lack of insight into the fact that the child needs regular contact with both parents and his or her extended family this can endanger the child´s health and development. Accordingly custody shall then be given to the other parent.

There are such verdicts from different countries, including Sweden, and also from The European Court, see e.g. case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.

Both Sweden and Norway have also been criticized by this court for violations of the child´s right to family life (see e.g. Eriksson v. Sweden, Olsson v. Sweden,  Johansen v. Norway).

In conclusion: to unjustifiably separate and alienate a child from his/her parent, or parents, and from the child´s extended families, is to disrespect the child´s fundamental need of love/acceptance, and a violation of the child´s legal and human right to family life: to keep contact and not lose identity.

Based on the knowledge we have about the child´s most fundamental need and the child´s legal and human rights I have suggested (Hellblom Sjögren, 2013) a general definition of “the child´s best interest”:

The child´s best interest is to be well enough taken care of with love/acceptance, not to be abused, physically or mentally, and to have the right to grow up in close contact with both parents and their family network and thus have the right to keep his or her identity respected, and to be able to speak out his or her opinion on matters concerning him or her freely, without ever being pressured to choose between the parents.

Approximately 50 % of parents separate in Sweden and in Norway. This does not signify that the children involved are to be separated from one of their parents (von Boch-Galhau & Kodjoe, 2003). A good enough parent can, following what we know about the child´s fundamental need and the child´s legal and human right to family life, be defined as a parent who demonstrates that the child is allowed to love the other parent and to have a regular close contact with that parent, because that is what the child needs for the child´s own health and well-being.

In the complicated cases studied the contact for the child with one parent (or both as in some of the cases of compulsory care), was mostly totally broken. Two typical examples were identified among the 60 cases characterized by demonstrated implacable hostility from one parent towards the other.

 

Mother cases.

The child in these cases had been separated from their mother, because of false claims about the mother´s mental/psychological problems, “lack of care” (Killén, 1991) or lack of parental ability. The father, most often in the studied cases, had support from the social workers, and/or involved experts. The father and his ally claimed, without substantiated evidence, that the child needed to be protected from the mother. The child in these cases was sometimes in their father´s care, and sometimes taken into compulsory custody, placed in the father´s home.

In the cases in which the father had a new cohabitant/wife, or in the instances where the child was placed in a foster home, the better the child connected with the father´s new partner, or with the foster mother, the better it was according to the social workers; they felt satisfied that they had done the right thing when they separated the child from the mother and encouraged new bonding for the child with a new “mother”.

 

Father  cases.

The second typical example identified was that of a child being separated from the father by the child´s mother, most often in alliance with the social services, and sometimes with a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

The father in these cases was falsely described as controlling and dominating, and was alleged in many cases to have used domestic violence, or to have sexually abused the child (and often the mother too). The mother and the social workers and the experts involved wanted to protect the child from the father, and thus influenced the child to reject his or her father.

When the police and prosecutor had decided not to investigate the allegations of abuse and/or violence any further because the allegations could not be substantiated, the mother and her allies, in these cases, claimed that this did not mean that abuse/violence had not taken place. They argued that the child must still be protected – and that the father ought to only have visitation rights a few hours per month during the day time, and often they also requested these rare visits to be supervised.

 

Method Used to Investigate the Child´s Best Interest

When there is an ongoing custody conflict after separation, with feelings of hatred, revenge, prestige, constructions of the family´s history are easily made; the family history is rewritten, colored by the ongoing and often escalating conflict between the parental parts. The most reliable method to try to find out what has really happened to the child, as far as it is possible to, has been to try to make a reconstruction of the family´s life, without preconceived ideas, based on as many documents of all kinds, over as long time as possible, e.g. medical records, day care and school reports, correspondence of all kinds, investigations and/ or/interrogations made, social records.

Since the courts in Sweden after 1993 (when there had been controversies about what was called different schools of witness psychology) nearly overall stopped appointing psychologists, it can sometimes be difficult to get access to documents that have been produced during the child´s life. Usually, the parent whose lawyer asks for the investigation has the documents in her/his possession from the time the custody was still shared. The documents from different dates over time are systematically and chronologically analyzed using a source critical perspective. By analyzing the documentation over a long time a reconstruction can be made, as opposed to the rewritten family histories that can be seen as false constructions colored by one parent´s implacable hostility towards the other.

Events, statements, direct and indirect, decisions and measures taken can be used to paint a picture of the child´s passed relationship with his/her parents. Thus the reconstruction based on historical documents can be used to correct the constructions of the past made in these alienation cases where a delusional conception of the world dominates the child´s thinking; the world is seen as either black or white. White and good is everything connected with the parent the child lives with and who has taken control over the child. The parent from whom the child has been separated is described and perceived as black and evil, stupid, crazy or as having evil thoughts and intentions, often made into some kind of a “monster” (Warshak, 2010).

The most reliable source to be able to make a prognosis regarding what will be the child´s best interest in a lifespan perspective is what the child, according to reliable sources, has experienced so far over time (the reconstruction), that is to say what can be interpreted to be close to the historical truth as opposed to the different narrative truths that the parents have of their past characterized by – in these most severe cases – an ongoing war.

 

The Legal Systems in Sweden and in Norway

The decisions made by the courts and the social authorities were decisive in all 60 cases of parental alienation. Therefore, before presenting two of them, I shall give a very short summary about the legal and social welfare systems in Sweden and Norway.

There is no community-based services for information, education, advice and/or mediation for families going through difficulties, as the Family Relationship Centres that since 2006, have been developed in Australia (Parkinson, 2013). The social welfare systems in both countries have the, as we see it the incompatible, task to help/give advice/support, and to take children into forced custody, away from their parents – when they consider it appropriate.

Mediation is mandatory in Norway when couples with children separate, but not in Sweden. The option of mediation on a voluntary basis exists in Sweden, where the mediators mostly are social workers working in close cooperation with their colleagues.

To involve a child psychologist in the process is common in Norway, where also a surveillance system has been introduced as a measure to improve the quality of the investigations made by these psychologists who are appointed by the court.  These psychologists are, in most cases, working very closely with the social workers, on whose information they mostly rely. In Sweden the case responsible social worker can ask a psychologist or a psychiatrist to help investigate a child, but the social worker is not obliged to take notice of, or to forward to the court what this expert says.

There are no judges exclusively assigned to family cases in Norway or Sweden. The judges in the public courts with three levels handle both family cases and criminal cases. In family cases in Sweden the judges rely almost totally on the facts of trial presented by the social services. In Norway the judges in family cases mostly rely on the report made by the psychologist appointed by the court to make a report, and on the psychologist who is appointed as an expert judge in the court.

The social workers in Sweden, and the employed within the same authority in Norway, make decisions, investigate, take measures, evaluate their own decisions and actions, and also decide when to take children into forced custody or to report a parent to the police.

Many of these child care professionals have gone to courses about domestic violence and men´s sexual abuse against women and children, but not about mental abuse, suggestible questioning, standardized  methods,  normal variations in child development and about children´s basic needs, human memory, memory distortion, and human rights.

The social workers, and the experts the social workers appoint and consider worth referring to in Sweden, or the psychologists who are appointed by the court in Norway, are seen as impartial authority professionals with competence and relevant methods to investigate the child´s situation as well as the family system and the relations. The courts rely on the opinions given by these professionals in nearly 100% of the disputed family cases going to court. But sadly enough these professionals do not have standardized methods to make investigations and risk assessments. Therefore much of the work is arbitrary, often based on hearsay, with consequences for the decisions in court – and for the child´s future.

In 2006 the Swedish family law was changed, making cooperation problems the most essential argument for giving up the general idea of joint custody, which had been the rule since 1998, after a successful father´s campaign. Due to the alteration of the law in 2006, after a successful women´s campaign, sole custody is often given to one parent, mostly to the one arguing there are cooperation problems which are easy to create and/or claim (Singer, 2007-2008).

Nor in Sweden, or Norway, is there an acceptance for the empirically-based observations around the globe (Dum, 2013) that if a child is separated from a loved and loving parent, and influenced to reject that parent with no foundation, the child´s well-being is threatened (Kodjoe & von Boch-Galhau, 2006).

 

A mother case from Sweden: Olle has been separated from his mother since July 2006, when he was 9 years.

A conditional love has been demonstrated over time by the father in this case: I love/accept you if you reject your mother (as I do).

Olle[1] was born in 1997 and his parents separated when Olle was four years. They had shared custody with Olle staying one week with each of his parents. Olle has an older half-brother William, on Olle´s father´s side, whom the father won sole custody over (after having disparaged William´s mother). Their father met a new partner with several children and they moved in together. On his mother´s side Olle had close contact with his grandmother, and met regularly with uncles and cousins.

Olle complained over time to his mother that he was afraid of his older brother. When he was six years old, he had bruises or scratches from his week at his father´s when he came to his mother. After some time of displaying these injuries, along with Olle’s complaints, the mother took him to the local medical care center. In Olle´s medical record from that visit it was reported:

“Olle tells that he has been hurt by his brother William when he had been in his father´s home. Olle also tells that he usually wets his pants when he is at his father. Also, he now has had to give up his room to another child in the family and when he is at his father´s he has to sleep alone on a mattress in the cellar. He tells that William has the habit to pinch his  willie when he has clothes on, also that he grabs his bottom and willie when Olle sleeps in the cellar. Olle also says that his dad doesn´t listen when he tells but just gets angry.”

After this visit both the doctor and nurse reported concern for Olle´s well-being to the social services. The social services did not start an investigation, as they are obliged to, according to the Swedish law regulating social services. The doctor and nurse made an additional report about their preoccupation about Olle at his father´s, and the social services then initiated an investigation, resulting in their referring Olle to a child psychiatrist. This psychologist reported back to the social services and recommended that:

the father ought to control that Olle and William should not be together alone, as Olle had both confirmed and denied his earlier information about William´s sexual harassments towards him, such as pinching his penis.

When Olle was eight years old, and had been staying with a member of his extended paternal family he was physically harmed, cried and seemed terrified, according to his mother´s report when he came back to her from this stay. The mother called the police who instructed her to call the emergency clinic to have the damages documented. In the medical record, after Olle had been medically examined, it is written:

Mother arrives with son instructed to do so by the police to document a bruise on the inner side of the left thigh 13 x 4 cm. Olle complains now and then over pain when touched but does not today, by any means, want to show his genitalia”.

A criminal inspector made a report to the social services regarding concern about Olle´s situation. The social services decided “not to initiate an investigation.”

Later that year, after Olle had been with his father, Olle had a new injury. In the medical journal it says:

“Older brother hit Olle over his nose with his fist. Started bleeding from the nose. Also has had bleeding during the Monday night at his father´s./…/Cultivation showed growth of staphylococcus.”

The mother reacted to the fact that the father had not taken Olle to hospital after he had started bleeding and she made her second report of concern to the social services. No investigation was initiated until Olle´s mother complained to the authority responsible for supervising the social services.

In Olle´s social services record late that year it is reported:

“The father says he knows what Olle´s problem is: it is his mother´s repeated reporting of everything to the social services, to the police and to the surveillance authority for the social services.”

Two months after it was documented in Olle´s social record:

“We agree that the father shall accompany Olle to his mother after the handball match.”

One month later it was documented:

“One more step to make things better for Olle would be to allow Olle to sit in his room and be able to talk freely (with his mother). Agreed that in the future the father shall help with the home work Olle has (in his father weeks) and that the mother doesn´t have to help Olle with this too. ”

Olle´s loyalty conflict was clearly observed by the social workers, according to their notes made in Olle´s social record. Soon after a social worker documented her conversation with Olle´s father, demonstrating that a change in attitude in favor of the father had then occurred:

“Regarding the investigation the father says that the harm done to Olle´s nose, that initiated the investigation, happened when William was not at home. He further points out that the nose was not broken and that Olle has told his father that mother is happy if he says that William has done bad things to him. The father thinks that Olle has learnt what to say to make his mother happy.”

Later the father changed his statement about William not having been with Olle on the occasion when Olle´s nose was harmed. Other documents from this time illustrate that Olle was in a loyalty conflict and under great pressure. Here is from a recorded conversation Olle had with a colleague of his mother, later in that month:

“Dad said all I should say. And then I did that- He came to school, looked me in the eyes. Then I became afraid.”

The social workers decided to put Olle, his father, his half-brother William and the father´s new cohabitant and one of her youngest sons in an investigation home for six weeks, the purpose was said to be to investigate the parental ability .

Olle´s maternal grandmother, whom he was very attached to, died of cancer at this time. His father insisted that Olle should come immediately to him because it was “father´s week” for Olle and time to move to the investigation home according to the plan.

Olle´s father decided together with the staff at the investigation home that Olle was only allowed to stay on his grandmother´s funeral in church, and not allowed to stay with his mother and his extended family afterwards. When Olle´s mother came to take him to his grandma´s funeral as had been agreed upon, Olle repeatedly said ´don´t want to´ while crying, sitting on his mother´s lap. The mother took Olle with her. Olle´s mother was accused by one of the staff members for not having listened to Olle, then 9 years old, when he had cried that morning, and for having pressured Olle to go to his grandma´s funeral against his own will. This staff member reported Olle´s mother to the social services. Based on this the social services decided that Olle should only be allowed to be with his mother under constant supervision all the time they were not sleeping  from the day she would arrive to stay with Olle at the investigation home. This was formally said to be a stay for six weeks to investigate also the mother´s parental ability, but one staff member called her before her arrival and said they had found out that she was the problem. The mother did not accept any of the restrictions written down in a contract the social services tried to make her sign before her arrival to the investigation home in the middle of July 2006.

On the fourth day of Olle´s mother´s stay Olle wanted to go swimming with his mother, as they had done the two days before. A very experienced social worker, who had accompanied them when they went swimming, and also for the rest of the mother´s first days with Olle at  the investigation home, told in court, on three different court sessions, about the loving and good relationship between Olle and his mother. Her testimony though was not documented in the verdicts, and not taken any notice of. The fourth day this social worker was off from work. Olle and his mother were not allowed to go swimming that day as there was no other staff member that could accompany them

When the mother and Olle still wanted to go swimming the young extra staff in charge took Olle away from his mother into an office and closed the door, they wrote in their report:

“Olle is afraid that he will not see his mother anymore. The staff tries to calm Olle and make him safe by telling him that his mother will not disappear and that he will see her again.”

Olle, during his six weeks with his father and his new family at the investigation home had, according to what was documented, repeatedly said he did not want to lose his mother, and that he wanted to have both his parents. The staff packed Olle´s mother´s things and kept Olle in their office. Olle´s mother left the investigation home, waiting for a call from the division leader, a conversation that she had requested as she wanted to find out why they were not allowed to go swimming.

However while she waited for that, an  extra assigned division leader who was in charge didn´t call but informed by voice message that she and the political leader for the social services had decided to take Olle into compulsory custody, and place Olle in his father´s and his cohabitant´s home. It was argued in a document presented the next day, signed by the same division leader, who had never met with Olle and his mother, and had hearsay information:

“Olle lives in a very difficult situation where he is expected to say bad things about his father and his new family in order to stop his mother pressuring him. With the knowledge I have about the mother´s view on Olle´s father and his new cohabitant I judge Olle to be in need of protection by the law to be able to be placed with his father.”

The arguments put forward for forced custody by the division leader was not in accordance with the law regulating forced custody in Sweden.

The decision made by the social services to take Olle into compulsory care with immediate residence in his father´s home, was made invalid by the administrative court of appeal only a little more than two weeks later. At the time of the verdict from that court it was “mother´s week” for Olle. Despite that Olle was not allowed by his father to return to his mother, or even to talk to her on the phone. The father called the court´s decision a mistake, and Olle was kept by his father in his father´s home, with the support from the social services and his lawyer.

The father and the social services gave their picture of Olle´s mother to the principal in Olle´s school. The principal decided that Olle should not start school with his classmates, but instead stay in his father´s home, until after the preparatory court session. This was based on Olle´s father´s demand (sent to court the day after Olle was taken into compulsory care and placed in his father´s home) to have sole custody of Olle, The preliminary court decision was not sole custody, as the father, his lawyer and the social workers, had worked for intensely, but continued shared custody, and residence for Olle with his father and regular contact without supervision for Olle with his mother. But Olle was not allowed to have any contact with his mother, his loved dog, his old mates or his extended family.

The school principal, after a meeting with Olle´s father, decided that Olle´s mother should not be allowed to visit Olle´s school. The father´s lawyer wrote in a fax to a judge in the district court in later that year:

”Evidently it would have been more clear what counts if the decision on shared custody had been combined with a decision about supervised visits. No matter how many times the mother calls she will not be allowed to speak with Olle.”

Supervised visits with the mother were immediately decided by this new judge without any communication with Olle´s mother. She didn´t have a lawyer at the time, and had tried for herself to get help from the district court to establish contact with her son without getting any response to the fact that the father was not fulfilling his lawful obligations. The father was given sole custody by the end of the year by the same judge who had decided in accordance with the father´s lawyer´s request to allow only restricted visitations supervised by the social services.

The mother´s complaint didn´t change anything in the appeal court nearly a year later. The Supreme Court after her appeal to this instance decided there was no reason to try the case.

In spring 2008, the mother sued the father for shared custody, as Olle had still not been allowed any contact at all with her. A third district court judge instructed Olle´s father in May to arrange for Olle to meet with his mother during the summer twice a week – without supervision. The father then went abroad with Olle. After their return, a fourth judge from the district court, decided in accordance with what the father repeatedly kept saying was Olle´s own will: not to have any contact with his mother. A new social worker in charge, who had  written a book about his own hatred towards his mother, agreed  with Olle´s father that it is not possible to force a child to see his/her mother against the child´s own will. The case was closed by this new social worker.

In the verdict from the local court in early spring 2009 sole custody was again given to the father, by a new fifth judge. She came from the Land and Environmental court and did not allow most of the witnesses the mother had indicated, among them two professionals who had been asked to witness about  parental alienation (one of them the author). The third expert witness asked to witness by the mother´s lawyer, a professor in international law, who had written an extensive legal statement after having thoroughly investigated  the legal faults made in Olle´s case (Lysén, 2008), was also refused as a witness by this judge, as was also his written statement. Formally Sweden has allowed free testimony since 1948, with very restricted rules when a testimony can be refused, and has a constitutional law saying that all decisions and actions taken by authorities shall be impartial and based on matter of facts. In the verdict from 2009 it was stated (violating these rules and standards):

”The mother has argued that the father puts Olle under strong pressure to make him reject her, so called Parental Alienation Syndrome, PAS.  The district court does not see that any information at all has emerged to verify this argument or that the father in any other way is unsuitable to have sole custody. On the contrary the district court sees that the investigations made by the social services, investigations the district court finds no reason to question, that the mother has great deficiencies to listen to Olle and to respect his feelings and his views and that Olle through her behavior is at risk for maltreatment. …The district court can only hope, for the best of the mother and her son, that the mother has an ability to accept the judgments made by the social services and the court, so that she can put her own interests aside and instead try to understand and respect her son´s feelings and say yes to the support and the help she can need to reestablish their relation… This is about the boy´s right to his mother and not about the mother´s right to her son.”

Since Olle was separated from his mother eight years have passed without any contact at all between Olle and his mother. Nor has any contact been allowed for Olle with his loved dog, now dead, that he lost the same day that he lost his mother. All the cards and presents his mother has tried to forward to Olle have not been received by him. Olle has been assured by his father that his mother doesn´t love him. This Olle told a friend and his sister gave the information to Olle´s mother.

Olle´s older half-brother William was in 2011 sentenced for the same kind of fatal threats and the kind of punches towards the head that he had done to Olle at the time for the mother´s reports to the social services. Several more reports of concern for Olle´s well-being have been made after that to the social services, but the social services have chosen not to make any new investigations of Olle´s situation. The social services have over the years since the day of the separation of Olle from his mother claimed that Olle is well, and doesn´t want to have any contact with his mother, as Olle´s father has told them is Olle´s own will.

After protests from the mother, about not having had any information at all from the school as is her lawful right about Olle´s school work, she had some information after six years. From this it can be stated that Olle is not at all well: his grades were catastrophically low, he was in December 2012 reported to be absent from most of the lessons in sports due to injuries and lack of appropriate clothing. He has given up all his sports, and old friends. Olle himself has expressed hatred and total rejection of his mother.

A social worker interviewed Olle in 2011 to find out his point of view. She wrote in her report that Olle had been pressured by his mother all his life to say that his father had hit him. She also wrote that Olle could not understand how anyone could do such an evil thing as his mother had done: to force him as a child to lie about his father. The social worker stated that Olle never wants to have any contact with his mother, and concluded: of course Olle´s own will must be respected.

Nor Olle or his mother have ever said that it was the father who hit Olle. This proves that Olle´s life history has been rewritten, a construction, not based on the documented historical facts, has been made. Olle has incorporated the false belief that his mother is an evil person. Olle has been, and still is, forced to live in a delusional world with the false memories he has acquired.

 

A father case from Norway – Trond has been totally separated from his father since April 2010, when he was 12 years old

A conditional love over time has in this case been demonstrated by the mother: I love you if you reject your father (the way I do).

Trond, whose name has been changed as have all identities, was born in the beginning of 1998. His sister Marit was born five years earlier. Their parents had separated in 2001. After separation the children stayed with their mother as the parents had agreed, and the father came in the weekends to stay with them. Later the mother stopped the father from seeing the children.

Trond was 4, and Marit was nearly 9 years old, when their mother for the first time claimed that the children´s will was not to see their father. In a verdict after the separation of Trond the mother´s view of the history was referred:

“The background for the refusal to allow contact was that the children, according to the mother, didn´t want to see their father and had reacted negatively before, during and after contact with him.”

In spring 2002 the father sued the mother for visitation rights with both children, as the mother had stopped the children from seeing him. He was granted this by a court decision, without compliance by the mother. The father then sued her for sole custody so that the children could have contact with both parents. The court decided in the autumn that year to give daily care to the father and to give the mother wide visitation rights.

The mother appealed and a year later the higher court gave the mother daily care, while the father got wide visitation rights.

Two years later problems arose with the father´s visitation rights. A lower court decided that the mother had to pay a fine every time she refused to let the children meet their father. The mother complained to a higher court, which in 2006 lowered the amount for the mother to pay.

Later the same year, the father sued the mother to have a change in visitation rights, and later also to have the son´s residence changed. According to a court agreement the following year Trond, then 10 years old, should have his residence with his father, and at the same time the mother should have 50% visitation rights. This living in turn did function for some time.

Marit then had for a long time, and encouraged by her mother, refused to have any contact with her father. Complications arose, as Marit found out that it was the mother who had influenced her to perceive her father only in black and to reject him. It was one of the psychologists Marit had been taken to by her mother who had asked Marit: “is really everything about your father bad?” This question had made Marit wake up from the delusional black- and white-thinking and to start thinking for herself. Marit, then 14 years old, declared that she wanted to move from her mother´s home to her father´s.  One year later Marit moved to her father´s parents in the northern part of Norway.  When Marit had moved in with her father, the mother decided that she didn´t want to have any further contact with her. Thus the mother sadly enough proved that her love for Marit was conditional.

The mother at this time claimed that the 50-50 living was bad for Trond. The mother started taking Trond to several different doctors and psychologists to get support for her idea that the father was not good enough for Trond to live with.

The father moved to the north where the daughter had moved, and brought Trond with him, without having agreed on that with the children´s mother, and without having prepared Trond. The father had said to Trond that they were going to visit his sister and his grand-parents. On the boat along the coast up to the north the father explained to Trond that he would start school there and live there.

Trond communicated with his mother and old friends by mail; he seemed to like his new school, he liked skiing, he liked his old friend living nearby, and he liked to be with his sister and the extended family. The father offered to pay for the mother to travel to meet with Trond in the town where he stayed, but the mother refused. She wanted Trond to come to her home.  In spring 2010 a psychologist met with Trond to find out what Trond wanted. At that time Trond expressed that he wanted his parents to have shared custody, and that he wanted to live with them both in turns as before in the town where he had been brought up.

The mother demanded from a lower court to decide that Trond should have his permanent residence with her. A lower court before Christmas did not decide in accordance with the mother´s demand. The mother appealed. In spring 2010 the higher court decided according to the mother´s demand. The father sent a complaint about this decision and at the same time he asked that the decision by the lower court should prevail until a final decision had been made. The higher court decided not to agree to this. The mother demanded to have a forceful application of this decision.

Trond was taken by police to his mother shortly after this, without any preparation for Trond to say goodbye to his famliy or his class mates and friends. His sister Marit told in her testimony in a new court session two years later that Trond had cried when the police came, and had said that he didn´t want to leave his father. There has been no contact between Trond and his father since this occurred.

Only 17 days after Trond had been brought to his mother by the police Trond was taken to a doctor by his mother. This doctor wrote in Trond´s medical record:

“Comes with mother…Doesn´t wear his mobile, is afraid father shall find him. He doesn´t want to go to the north again, nor does he want to call his father or anyone else in the family there. Doesn´t want to see his father.”

Two months later the mother´s lawyer demanded that

“there shall be no contact at all between Trond and father until court session”

After some weeks with his mother, isolated from all contact with his father, Trond´s rejection of his father was total, as was the mother´s rejection of her former husband, the children´s father. The mother´s influence on Trond, and Trond´s loyalty towards his mother and rejection of his father, was documented in the report given by the psychologist, when she reported about what Trond had told her:

“There is nothing regarding mother that is bad, he doesn´t want to have visits with his father, and he will not miss father. They never do anything fun together. Father gives him little attention. Father is often angry as he raises his voice.

He didn´t find anything positive with his stay in the north, with the exception of Marit. He is afraid of father, as he is afraid that he will turn up and take him again.

He wants to have peace, he doesn´t want his father to call. Regardless of organization of visitation, he will refuse. As he doesn´t want to meet his father.

And he doesn´t think that father acts as if he loved him.

He doesn´t want to speak with father on the phone or by e-mail.”

When the same psychologist met with Trond later, eight months after her first meeting with him, she reported:

“When asked if there is something special that he wished me to report to the judge, he answers: ´I don´t want father to be permitted to have any contact at all with me because then it is not allowed to call me and to ring the bell. And then we can in the next court proceeding report that he has called then and then.´”

Trond said that “ then we can report him”. This demonstrates that Trond had totally incorporated his mother´s view on his father, and had allied with his mother: they were a “we” fighting against his father. The court appointed psychologist further reported:

“ Nor Trond or mother has opened the door or answered the phone when father has been outside…

He says he doesn´t want to know anything about father. I don´t love him at all. Leave me in peace. Trond repeats that he has never liked to be with father and that he never has had a good time with him…it would have been great to have  two parents and to have had another father from the start…He also says that father never has been good, always has bad-mouthed mother…

Trond says father grabbed his arm when he was little and had been arguing. Sometimes Trond had forced him to play x-box but father only wanted to return to his computer. Father didn´t speak with Trond. Father was not a good listener…”

The court appointed psychologist asks if it would be easier for Trond to be with his father if his mother would think it was ok. He answers: “No, it is me who do not want be with him, independently of what she thinks.” This has repeatedly been empirically observed as a typical response for a child who has been influenced to reject a parent, as is the use of so called borrowed scenarios, and the rejection of the rejected parent´s extended family (Boch-Galhau, 2012; Gardner, 2001). The mother had reported the father to the police for having “kidnapped” Trond when he took him to the north to stay with him, his sister and paternal grandparents. Trond told the psychologist it would be “traumatic” for him to be forced to move from where he stayed, as when father “kidnapped” him to the north.  Trond rejected not only his father but everyone connected with his father. His uncle´s gift was returned by Trond to the store that had delivered the gift. The psychologist wrote:

“The same uncle also came to school one day and Trond hid. Trond has felt the same when the uncle turned up as when father has turned up – he has become afraid and sad…When asked if there is anyone else in father´s family that he can think of  being in contact with, he says no, because father has had all his family behind him.”

The mother, having won sole custody, decided to move with Trond to another country in Europe in summer 2011. They stayed there one year. In a verdict from the time they had returned it says:

“For different reasons Trond has chosen to step aside of the adults´ conflict by just relating to one of the parents. He has found an independent platform to handle the conflict between his parents.”

A separation of a child from a parent, cannot be seen as a result of a conflict between the parents. Since Trond was twelve years old it has been claimed by his mother, some experts and two courts, that it is Trond´s own will not to have any contact with his father. In a decision from a higher court in 2012 it was stated that this was Trond´s own will:

“The expert appointed by the lower court expressed that Trond´s wish not to have any contact with his father has become an integrated part of him, and  to neglect Trond´s wish could strengthen Trond´s antipathy for his father. In the written statement by the expert it is stated that independent of causes, it is important to take Trond´s experiences and wishes seriously as he is the age he is… Trond´s opinion regarding contact with his father implies that visitation is not possible. It is for this court not at all an issue to consider forcing Trond to meet with his father.”

Two years after Trond had been taken by the police to his mother, his sister Marit came to visit him. The mother wrote in an email to Marit after the visit:

“Once and for all, it is so that [name of the father] does not have access to Trond, but you have.”

That same year the court stated:

“Trond is of a very vulnerable age. When Trond, over time, gets peace and the conflict between the adults possibly will weaken when the adults not any longer have so much to disagree on, it might be easier for Trond to reconnect with his father. It is the opinion of this higher court that an arrangement where Trond continues to stay permanently with his mother is the best solution regarding Trond´s situation today, and at the same time it gives the best foundation for contact between Trond and his father later.”

This, the author would say, is wishful thinking of adults against what is known about the child´s fundamental need of close contact with both parents for the child´s own well-being. It also violates the child´s legal and human right to family life, and to keep his identity. The court in their verdict ruled out the possible existence, in this instance, as a case of parental alienation (that the author had given expert witness about) without giving any arguments for this ruling.

 

Summary

When parents separate they mostly do not want to have close contact any longer. The children, however, want, need and have a legal and a human right to have close regular contact with both parents. In severe custody conflicts, as the two authentic cases presented, an implacable hostility develops, often combined with unfounded accusations making it, in the eyes of the accuser, legitimate for him/her to, not to kill physically, but to psychologically kill the other parent, and to extinguish that parent from the child´s life. The child in such cases becomes totally dependent on one parent. That parent – it can in cases of unfounded compulsory custody also be the social services – wants to have total control over the child, thus cutting off the child from the other parent (or both parents) and also from everything connected with her/him.

When the social services and the courts in the existing adversarial system in Sweden and Norway do not understand the stressful pressure the children are suffering, influenced as they are to reject a former loved parent, made dangerous (Hellblom Sjögren, 2001) but think that it is their own will not to have any contact with that parent, they contribute to the harm done to the child, also including the “identity issue” (Finkelstein, 2003).

A courtroom is not the right place to decide about a child´s contact with the child´s parents. But it is the system we still have in Sweden and in Norway.

The best thing would be to try to prevent situations like the ones Olle and Trond have been put into, situations where the children are put in a situation where they have to reject one parent not to lose the other parent´s love/acceptance, a process where they acquire false memories as their life history is remade: one parent becomes all good and one all bad.  Standardized questionnaires based on PAR theory can, we hope, ameliorate practice.

Five general questions were analyzed in these two and the other identified cases of parental alienation:

  1. Had efforts been made to help the child have a close and good contact with both parents?
  2. Had the risks for the child to be abused, unlawfully abducted or kept (nationally and internationally) or otherwise be maltreated, been investigated according to what is required by law, that is impartially and in a matter of-fact way?
  3. Had the child´s right to family life been respected?
  4. Had the child´s right to keep his/her identity been respected?
  5. 5. Had the child had the opportunity to freely speak his/her meaning (article 12 in the UN convention on The Rights of the Child)?

The answers found was: no to all five questions. In conclusion: the fundamental need of the child to have love/acceptance from both their parents and their extended families, and the child´s legal and human right to have contact with both parents, have been violated.

The child´s fundamental need of the parents love/acceptance and the child´s legal and human right to family life and to keep identity for the sake of the child´s own well-being, is not yet accepted as a self-evident and needed knowledge among professionals who are employed in social services and in child care agencies, nor among legal professionals or psychologists and/or psychiatrists in Sweden and Norway. The knowledge about the harm done to children in severe parental alienation cases is considered to be controversial and is, until now, unknown and/or opposed by the vast majority of professionals within the legal and the child protection systems.

A reconciliation regarding the controversies on parental alienation would be needed to prevent more children from being harmed by the exclusion of love/acceptance from one parent, so fundamental for the child´s well-being and healthy development.

 

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[1] All names have been changed to protect the identity of the persons mentioned

PAS in compulsory public custody, a book chapter from THE INTERNATIONAL HANDBOOK OF PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME. Conceptual, Clinical and Legal Considerations

From  2006: Gardner, R.A. M.D., Sauber, S.R. Ph.D., Lorandos, D. Ph.D., J.D. (Eds.) THE INTERNATIONAL HANDBOOK OF PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME. Conceptual, Clinical and Legal Considerations, Charles C Thomas Publisher, LTD

PAS in compulsory public custody conflicts*

Lena Hellblom Sjögren, PhD

ABSTRACT

Programming of children by parent substitutes in public custody disputes can cause Parental Alienation Syndrome, PAS. Such programming involving public authority, is designed to strengthen the position of the programming parent substitute in courts of law. The purpose of this article is to describe the alienation process in five Swedish cases where the children have developed PAS after having been influenced to reject their mothers by local social welfare agencies. I conclude that children and their parents are best served if PAS can be recognized, and efforts be made to educate professionals about how harmful it is.

As described by Richard Gardner and according to his widely accepted definition of PAS four main points can be stressed:

  1. A child-parent relationship is transformed to rejection of a formerly loved parent.
  2. The transformation is due to programming by the other parent, or as in the cases below, by a parent substitute.
  3. The child contributes in the campaign of denigration of the alienated parent seemingly out of his/her own will.
  4. The child develops a cluster of symptoms related to a two folded cause: continuous negative influence about the targeted parent from the parent or parent substitute on whom the child is dependent and who is fighting to obtain or keep custody, and from the child itself, who has incorporated a negative picture of the formerly loved parent whom the child is kept separated from.

The incorporation of a negative picture is due to what is said about the targeted parent and perhaps more important what is done by the substitute parent to avoid that parent. The children are vulnerable in an ongoing custody conflict. In particular small children are totally dependent on the parent or parent substitute for their daily care. It is impossible for them not to notice and be influenced by the rejection of the parent they are mostly separated from.

If a child has been abused, severely neglected or maltreated by a parent and therefore rejects that parent, then of course the child´s rejection is justified, as is the local authorities´ endeavours to protect the child. It is a good thing to have laws to safeguard children under such conditions. If the child´s rejection of a parent is due to severe maltreatment, mental illness, drug problems or abuse PAS is not applicable.

PAS can be identified in custody conflicts when the parent substitute programs a child to denigrate a parent without justification, and acts to alienate the child from the parent, resulting in the child´s own denigration of a formerly loved parent. The five cases presented here all involve rejection of the mother.

When children’s well being and rights are at stake even children whose mothers or fathers are severe criminals need to have contact with their parents. All children have human rights to be with their family. These rights are violated for many children who are taken into public care. Although there are social workers and child psychiatrists who claim that a foster family is as much a family as the child’s biological family, this disregards the fact that the foster parents have it as a paid job to take care of someone else’s child, with one to three months notice of withdrawal. In November 2001 10.200 children were in foster homes, two thirds on a voluntary or semi-voluntary basis, and one third in accordance with the Act containing Special Provisions on the Care of Young Persons (LVU-Law 1980:621 with special regulations regarding the care of young people). This law gives the social authorities power to take children from their parents when an official believes that a young persons’s health or development is at risk.

In Sweden every second marriage ends with divorce and about 70 % of the “common law” relations end with separation. In comparison with the many cases of divorces/separations where children become involved in custody conflicts between two parents the compulsory public custody conflict cases can be seen as a minor problem. For the children involved, however, who without justification are programmed to perceive their mothers or fathers as negatively as the officials from the social welfare agencies/ the parent substitutes do, it is not a minor problem.

My purpose with this article is to contribute to our understanding of the unjustified alienating processes resulting in PAS when the identified alienator is a parent substitute in compulsory public custody conflicts and the mother is the alienated parent.

The targeted mothers described here, whose cases I have investigated thoroughly as an investigative psychologist, have given their permission for me to write about their cases. All names are fictious, but all the details and excerpts from documents and other quotations marked with inverted commas are authentic (translation from Swedish to English by myself).

As has been pointed out unanimously breaking off the relationship and contact between a child and a parent, subsequent to a separation, is traumatic for both the child and the parent.

In the case studies presented here this is evident. The cases are as follows:

1. Case one. Emma was separated from her mother when she was one year old.

2. Case two. Erika was two and a half years old when her mother was said to be no good for her.

3. Case three. Jenny was separated from her mother as newborn, her one year younger sister when she came back with her mother from 8 years of exile.

4. Case four. Four children were separated from their mother, the youngest was later allowed to come home.

5. Case five. Dan was separated from his mother at the age of nearly 12 and died when he was to be 15.

Are there any common traits in the way the alienator acts? Do the alienated mothers have something in common? How severely have the children been harmed? What can be said about intervention and non intervention by the authority officials, who are obliged to make decisions in the best interest of the child?

Programming of children by parent substitutes in public custody disputes can cause Parental Alienation Syndrome, PAS. Such programming involving public authority, is designed to strengthen the position of the programming parent substitute in courts of law. The purpose of this article is to describe the alienation process in five Swedish cases where the children have developed PAS after having been influenced to reject their mothers by local social welfare agencies. I conclude that children and their parents are best served if PAS can be recognised, and efforts be made to educate professionals about how harmful it is.

As described by Richard Gardner, and according to his widely accepted definition of PAS[1][1], four main points can be stressed:

  1. A child-parent relationship is transformed to rejection of a formerly loved parent.
  2. The transformation is due to programming by the other parent, or as in the cases below, by a parent substitute.
  3. The child contributes in the campaign of denigration of the alienated parent seemingly out of his/her own will.[2]
  4. The child develops a cluster of symptoms related to a two foldcause: continuous negative influence about the targeted parent from the parent or parent substitute on whom the child is dependent and who is fighting to obtain or keep custody, and from the child itself, who has incorporated a negative picture of the formerly loved parent whom the child is kept separated from.

The incorporation of a negative picture is due too what is said about the targeted parent and perhaps more important what is done by the substitute parent to avoid that parent. The children are vulnerable in an ongoing custody conflict. In particular small children are totally dependent on the parent or parent substitute for their daily care. It is impossible for them not to notice and be influenced by the rejection of the parent they are mostly separated from.

If a child has been abused, severely neglected or maltreated by a parent and therefore rejects that parent, then of course the child’s rejection is justified, as is the local authorities´ endeavours to protect the child. It is a good thing to have laws to safeguard children under such conditions. If the child’s rejection of a parent is due to severe maltreatment, mental illness, drug problems or abuse PAS is not applicable.

PAS can be identified in custody conflicts when the parent substitute programs a child to denigrate a parent without justification, and acts to alienate the child from the parent, resulting in the child’s own denigration of a formerly loved parent. The five cases presented here all involve rejection of the mother. [3][3]

When children’s well being and rights are at stake even children whose mothers or fathers are severe criminals need to have contact with their parents.[4][4] All children have human rights to be with their family.[5][5] These rights are violated for many children who are taken into public care. Although there are social workers and child psychiatrists who claim that a foster family is as much a family as the child’s biological family,[6][6] this disregards the fact that the foster parents have it as a paid job to take care of someone else’s child, with one to three months notice of withdrawal. In November 2001 10.200 children were in foster homes, two thirds on a voluntary or semi-voluntary basis, and one third in accordance with the Act containing Special Provisions on the Care of Young Persons (LVU-Law 1980:621 with special regulations regarding the care of young people). This law gives the social authorities power to take children from their parents when an official believes that a young person’s health or development is at risk. [7][7]

 

In Sweden every second marriage ends with divorce and about 70 % of the “common law” relations end with separation. In comparison with the many cases of divorces/separations where children become involved in custody conflicts between two parents the compulsory public custody conflict cases can be seen as a minor problem. For the children involved, however, who without justification are programmed to perceive their mothers or fathers as negatively as the officials from the social welfare agencies/ the parent substitutes do, it is not a minor problem.

My purpose with this article is to contribute to our understanding of the unjustified alienating processes resulting in PAS when the identified alienator is a parent substitute in compulsory public custody conflicts and the mother is the alienated parent.

The targeted mothers described here, whose cases I have investigated thoroughly as an investigative psychologist, have given their permission for me to write about their cases. All names are fictitious, but all the details and excerpts from documents and other quotations marked with inverted commas are authentic[8][8] (translation from Swedish to English by me).

As has been pointed out unanimously[9][9] breaking off the relationship and contact between a child and a parent, subsequent to a separation, is traumatic for both the child and the parent.

In the case studies presented here this is evident. The cases are as follows:

Case one. Emma was separated from her mother when she was one year old.

Case two. Erika was two and a half years old when her mother was said to be no good for her.

Case three. Jenny was separated from her mother as newborn, her one year younger sister when she came back with her mother from 8 years of exile.

Case four. Four children were separated from their mother; the youngest was later allowed to come home.

Case five. Dan was separated from his mother at the age of nearly 12 and died when he was to be 15.

After a presentation of the cases I discuss some issues: Are there any common traits in the way the alienator acts? Do the alienated mothers have something in common? How severely have the children been harmed? What can be said about intervention and non intervention by the authority officials, who are obliged to make decisions in the best interest of the child?

Case one. Baby Emma, a British citizen, born in February 1990, was separated from her mother, Susan, when she was one year old. She is a teenager now, and lives in her second foster home where she was placed when 1.5 years old.

Susan came from Britain to Sweden and married a Swede. She brought her daughter born in Britain. After 10 years the marriage broke and Susan was upset and began to occasionally drink too much. She was treated for this, but was not diagnosed as an alcoholic by any medical doctor. Five years later when Susan had been in a stable relation for some time she and her boyfriend longed for children. It turned out to be impossible for her boyfriend to make Susan pregnant and they decided that Susan would try to become pregnant with a man who agreed to donate sperm. Susan and her boyfriend welcomed the baby girl and called her Emma. (According to Swedish law, Emma is a British citizen because her mother was unwed. Emma’s British citizenship was confirmed before she was six months old.)

From all contemporary witnesses it is documented that there was a loving, close mother-child relation, and nothing to worry about concerning Emma’s wellbeing in her mother’s care.

In a report from the paediatrician who had investigated Emma it is for example written:

“In summary Emma is judged to be a healthy, normally developed and in every aspect functioning 9 month-old girl.”

The social agency had been informed by a social counsellor at the hospital that perhaps this was a mother in need of some help as she had five years earlier had some drinking problems in reaction to a stressful situation. A social worker came to the birth clinic and said that she wanted to arrange professional help for the mother in her home, something the mother rejected. When, in spite of Susan’s refusal, the same social worker some weeks later came to her home with a therapist Susan felt that her integrity had been violated, and expressed that frankly. In the records kept by the social agency it is documented that this rejection was taken personally. A later statement from the social workers said that they remembered unpacked boxes and an untidy apartment, and pointed out that this reflected Susan’s “inner chaos”, and according to them it proved that she was mentally ill.

Several months later Susan was visited by an old pupil (from a time when she gave English courses).At the time of the visiting Susan did not feel well because of stomach ache and an infection, and she had not tidied up her apartment. This woman thought Susan needed some help and contacted the social agency. This and an information from Susan’s former mother in law and from another person stating that Susan had taken a glass too much gave reason for the same social worker to make a second home visit. She was then again criticized by Susan, who had taken some glasses, but was not so drunk that she couldn’t take care of her baby.

The social worker had the local social council decide about immediate compulsory public custody, called the police and took Emma to a children’s home. Susan was desperate, cried for her child and was aggressive towards the officials. According to the social agency Susan’s behaviour towards the officials from the social agency justified their opinion about Susan being unfit to take care of her child as she was mentally ill. They argued that Susan would come and go to hospitals as they thought she had done before, when she had reacted on her stressful divorce. Their opinion could not be altered although professionals argued strongly against a separation of mother and child.

At first Susan was allowed to come and see Emma and occasionally to breastfeed her as she had done as long as Emma lived with her. When Susan was allowed to stay in an institution with Emma, she tried to hide with Emma from the social agency but was caught by the police who took Emma from her at the request of the social agency. After that incident the social agency decided not to tell Susan where her daughter was. The social record stated that:

“the mother has ´kidnapped´ the daughter several times.”

The social agency decided for the second time to take Emma into forced custody. Emma, then 11 months old, had been moved between three different institutions. She was placed in a temporary foster home while the social agency looked for a foster home. Emma became attached to that temporary foster mother where she was placed for as long as 6 months. Emma was kept at a secret address away from her mother Susan. The reason for this was explained by the social agency:

“Susan has not known the address because she has been very emotionally unstable and unpredictable.”

In the social record it is written after a meeting between the temporary foster mother, and two social workers:

“We speak generally about Emma’s needs and L. (the responsible social worker) doesn’t think it will be difficult to find a suitable home for the child. On the other hand it is important that the family home[10][10] can tackle Susan.”

After 6 months the social agency had found a home that could, in their opinion, “tackle Susan,” who was then not allowed to see her daughter at all. Emma was to be adjusted to her new foster mother with the help of the temporary foster mother, according to an adjustment plan that was made up by the social agency.

This proves that Susan at this point already had been cut off from her daughter by the social agency. The parent substitute demonstrated by their actions, which were impossible for Susan to stop, that they didn’t think that she, as Emma’s mother, was an important or a necessary person for Emma in her life.

Emma has never during the last 12 years been allowed to see her mother in the foster home. The address of Emma’s new home was also kept secret from Susan, whom the social agency described as alcoholic and mentally disturbed. This was in spite of the fact that according to all the medical expertise that Susan had been in contact with, she was not regarded as an alcoholic. The officials from the social welfare agency have later labelled Susan psychotic. However this is not a diagnosis from any medical or psychiatric expertise, which has repeatedly diagnosed Susan’s drinking and loss of control as a reaction to the forced loss of her child, and the continuous lack of normal contact with her child.

The social agency had decided that Emma should be rooted in the foster home. The goal was that Emma should perceive the foster parents and the other children placed in the same foster home as her family. Nevertheless Emma’s foster home is a “family home” on duty, with a contract, according to which it can give notice of termination of a child it gets paid to take care of[11][11] three months in advance, after which the home is obliged to take another child.

The social agency had regular contact and supervision of the foster home. Every contact is documented in a social record. The following notes were made by a social worker in the beginning of January when Emma had been placed for half a year:

“E/the foster mother/ says that her head gets empty – Susan unceasingly speaks her stuff (is harping on the same string). (

Half a year later, when Emma had been in the foster home for one year, still without any normal contact with her mother Susan, the following notes are written (92-07-06):

“Susan has been worse than ever – she calls often – keeps talking about all the old stuff (like a record-player).”

The fact that Susan cannot think or talk about anything else than the loss of her child is used against her. She is in the opinion of the social agency nagging, a word Emma picks up and also uses against her mother, as an explanation to not wanting to see her.

Susan was not allowed to phone Emma in the foster home until Emma was three years old. At that time the social agency suggested for the first time a transfer also of the legal guardianship from Susan to the foster parents with a continued payment from the social agency.

Susan kept sending post cards to Emma, sometimes nearly every day. In the social journal we can read (94-09-21):

“The family sorts the cards – and prevents contacts between Emma and Susan.”

And from another day (94-10-12):

“The family chooses when Emma can have a card.”

Emma was allowed by the social agency to meet her mother once a month outside the foster home under supervision of her foster parents. Emma called her mother mummy during the first years, then by her first name as the social agency has always done. Emma’s mother wanted Emma to learn her own language English, but this was not supported by the social agency or the foster home. Emma has been told that her mother is ill and unable to take care of herself or Emma, none of which was a proven fact.

Emma has never, during her 12 years in public custody been allowed to meet with her mother in an everyday situation, or without supervision. All meetings took place – and still take place – under the supervision of the foster parents, outside the foster home.

When Emma was six years old it is reported by the social agency that Emma doesn’t want to see her mother any more. Before a meeting they claimed that Emma, when 6 years old, had said about her mother:

“If she insults and yells I want to go home.”

This is a borrowed adult expression. Year by year as Emma grew older she has gradually taken more and more part in the denigration campaign of her mother. She has expressed a hatred of English, and a total rejection of Susan, her mother. The social agency, responsible for the programming, argues that this proves that Emma doesn’t want to see her mother, and that their decision to transfer the legal guardianship to the foster parents is the right thing to do.

The powerlessness Susan experiences because of the abduction of her daughter by the social agency has made her do desperate things. She has set fire to papers from the social agency and has twice been sentenced to forced psychiatric care with special court review. The professor who made the forensic psychiatric evaluation on Susan wrote in 1996, and then again in 2001:

“The most crime-preventive measure is more contact between mother and daughter.”

A British psychiatrist who examined Susan stated in 2001:

“To make fires gives her a useful tool of communication and expresses her frustration, resentment and despair.”

The social agency has suggested a transfer of the legal guardianship of the British citizen Emma to the Swedish foster parents a total of nine times. This matter will be ultimately decided in court in the summer or autumn of 2003. One expert, who was requested by the social agency to give an opinion, wrote (November 2001):

“Emma seems to be an easy-going, merry and confident girl. She lives and has her life with mum and dad, her family home parents. She is well aware that she has a biological mother, Susan, but she doesn’t feel anything particular for her, or has thoughts about what a life with her would be like. Emma seems to live a good life in her family home and ought not to be worried through a constant tug-of-war between those she regards as her family and Susan. My suggestion is that the custody is transferred to the family home parents.”

In the latest statement from the social agency (November 2002) it was concluded that

“For Emma to be able to maintain a realistic picture and not to lose contact with her biological mother we suggest that the existing contact is reduced to let’s say two occasions a year.”

In 2002, when Emma was 12 years old and had been in the same foster home since she was 1.5, the social agency had asked another agency to investigate Emma. That investigator met Emma with the foster mother in the foster home. The requested investigator found that:

  1. “Emma has not one positive thing to say about Susan.”
  2. “Emma doesn’t think it is amusing, it is boring and not exciting to see Susan.”
  3. “To the question if she would like and dare to say to Susan that she is always nagging Emma answers – Yes but I don’t anyway, but I can tell E /the foster mother/.
  4. “Emma doesn’t feel any kinship or connection with Susan.”
  5. “Susan has sometimes been sad and has argued with E and K /the foster parents/. Emma doesn’t listen then.”
  6. “During our talk Emma clearly demonstrates irritation about Susan. She cannot describe Susan for me; she says she doesn’t remember what she looks like.”
  7. “She thinks she is always nagging and that she asks Emma a lot of questions. She compares the situation with the one when I, in my capacity as investigator, come and ask her questions.”

If we add that Emma has rejected any contact with her mother’s family in England we have an illustration of all the eight criteria described by Gardner for diagnosing the child’s behaviour as a result of alienation with an identified alienator, that is PAS.

In the Administrative Court of Appeal Susan, the mother, had appealed the social board’s decision not to grant her and Emma now 13 years old more extensive visiting rights. In my capacity as a private expert witness I argued that Emma had developed PAS and that she was unable to express her own will because of the heavy programming she has been exposed to since she was a baby.

In the verdict[12][12] from April 2003 PAS was mentioned twice, when my statement was referred as the court had understood it:

“When Emma was to attach to the family home mother the social welfare board decided about restrictions for Susan so that she was not allowed to see her child. The social welfare board thus acted as an alienator between mother and child. Emma’s contact with her mother is today seriously damaged as a consequence of all restrictions decided about their access. Such damage is called PAS – Parental Alienation Syndrome – and can be read off in a child’s behaviour. The only way of breaking the PAS condition is to remove Emma from the family home. It can take longer or shorter time for Emma to attach to her mother.”

The court decided, in spite of PAS as the cause for Emma not wanting to see her mother, not to judge otherwise than according to what had been recommended by the social agency and formally by the social welfare board.

Susan’s attorney at law has made three applications to the European court without success[13][13]. There have been 158 trials in the courts over the years.[14][14]

Case two. Erika, born in June 1991, was three and a half years old when her mother was said to be no good for her.

Ann and Åke were married longing for children. When Ann at last got pregnant marital problems arose. When their daughter Erika was born she had colic for three months, something Åke couldn’t stand. When Erika screamed he could start screaming, something Ann said she wanted to protect Erika from. Åke moved out. After their separation Ann wanted Erika to meet her father but in her presence. The problems grew; Åke phoned at nights and had difficulties to accept that he couldn’t come whenever he wanted. The parents started to fight about custody and contact. Ann moved with Erika. When Erika was 2.5 years old Ann, who was tired from calls and visits at night from Åke and from her fibromyalgia, asked the social authorities to have some help for example one weekend a month so that Erika then could stay with another family and Ann could have some rest. This is a social service called contact family that can be granted by the social agency for single parents who need some rest.

Ann did not get that help. Instead her ability as a mother was questioned, when at the same time it was to be decided in court where Erika should live, by her mother as she did, or by her father. The social authorities decided that Ann, Erika – and Åke – should all be observed together in a child psychiatric clinic where they had to stay day and night for four weeks. This was a difficult situation for all of them, especially for Ann who did not have the sympathy of the staff at the clinic or of anyone in the social agency, as had Åke. Ann’s behaviour was questioned, by Åke and by the staff.

The observations at the clinic clearly demonstrated that Erika, then 2 years and 7 months old, was attached to her mother. No disturbances other than those that could be attributed to the unnatural situation being at the clinic were reported in the medical records. Here one example:

“Erika is often worried and goes crying to stand close to Ann. When Ann at last leaves, Erika’s anxiety and crying increase and she runs around looking for her mother. Once she went into a corner sucking her thumb.”

Ann was observed while changing Erika´s diapers and it was reported that she didn’t realise that these occasions were similar to child abuse. There was a natural explanation why Erika did not to like to be changed: she had suffered from severe constipation several times and one month before admission for psychiatric observations had been operated on for the removal of an anal polyp. These natural explanations for Erika’s pains in her private parts were not considered by the staff in the clinic or by the social agency. They thought then and later that Ann was somehow sexually offending Erika, something Ann had thought that Åke might have done, after having been questioned by the doctor who operated Erika if she had any such suspicions.

When the observations after four weeks stay at the psychiatric clinic ended, Erika was described by the psychiatrist in charge as having disturbed behaviour. Ann was found to be an unfit mother, denying her problems and not seeking help enough. Here is what the psychiatrist wrote:

“Although she cares very much for the girl, Ann has no empathy in function for the girl’s autonomous needs, and she seems to experience herself and the girl as a mental unit. Ann has a manifest consciousness about the girl’s behaviour disturbances, but shows no need to accept help from her surroundings. Ann always has rationalized reasons for her own and the girl’s behaviour.”

On the other hand the psychiatrist wrote that Åke hade not “demonstrated any signs of unfitness as a parent”. The observations regarding the girl and the father, according to the psychiatrist cooperating with the social agency:

“show adequate quality and we have in this context seen nothing of the behaviour described by Ann.”

The father was not discussed in terms of his mental disturbance, but the mother was seen as mentally disturbed by the staff. They had observed her at the clinic together with Åke, from whom she had escaped, and who slandered her as mother for their child. One doctor remarked:

“Still perceive this mother as evidently mentally disturbed as everyone here in the hospital has. But cannot see that I can report her at all for neglect of the child. There are no signs of trauma or damage to the child.”

The social agency some weeks later decided, although there was no proof of neglect in Ann’s care, that Erika, then 3 years old, ought to be moved to a “qualified family home” for a “longer stay.” Erika, 3.5 years old, was taken by force from her mother in December 1994. The “care” in the “family home” to be ended, i.e. the preconditions for Erika to be allowed to return home to Ann, were:

that Erika has reached a stability, maturity and trust in her surroundings and that it is judged to be lasting,

that Ann has reached a lasting stability and maturity and insight about Erika’s needs,

that Ann has gained lasting insight and learnt into and learnt to control situations where she easily gets into a state of mental insufficiency,

that Ann has gained lasting stability and maturity in relation to other people.”

The authority with the power to decide whether these conditions had been fulfilled was the social agency that formulated the conditions.

The social agency placed Erika in a foster home. She was allowed to see her mother shortly once in January, once in February, once in May and once in August. In September

1995 Erika was allowed to see her mother under the supervision of a psychologist, a psychiatrist and social workers at a new clinic for one day. This was part of the second child psychiatry investigation, requested by the social agency. This time the mother was observed to have:

“used words that are abstract and doesn’t show any ability to empathise with Erika, she is not sensitive to the wishes and the needs of the child. The mother also violates Erika’s integrity during play but however we cannot observe any physical violations. Some warmth between mother and daughter can be observed.”

The father was also observed with Erika at the clinic. He was praised for his ability to meet the child’s needs and for his opinion, shared by the social agency and the expertise, that the mother was unfit to be a mother to Erika:

“The father also expresses his relief that Erika has been placed in a family home as he has been very worried about her situation due to the mother’s lack of ability as a parent.”

The experts recommended placement during the years Erika was growing up, something they called “placement during childhood and adolescence”, a concept not mentioned in the Swedish law. Below a quotation from the conclusions written by the chief physician, the psychologist and the social worker:

“Erika has been greatly damaged concerning the development of her personality. In a safe and stable setting she has now developed in a positive direction but we judge that she has a fragile and easily damaged personality at great risk of future mental problems and also of a negative development of her personality. /…/

We judge it as totally out of question that her biological parents would be able to take the parental responsibility. We therefore recommend a placement during childhood and adolescence and also a transfer of custody to the family home parents. /…/

We judge that the contact with the biological mother is so trying for Erika that it must be restricted more than before to let’s say one hour per occasion at most once a month.”

It was also said that the best would be to let Erika meet her mother outside the foster home, in a “neutral setting”, and under strict supervision:

“The mother and Erika must not under any circumstances be left alone which is why a third person must be present the whole time.”

Erika’s contact with her mother was restricted to only a few short supervised contacts and a few telephone calls during 1996 (January, March, May, June). To stand this difficult situation Ann worked more than full time as a telephone seller.

The social agency then for the third time requested that Erika and her parents be investigated by a child psychiatry team. Erika, then 5 years old, was in the end of September 1996 moved to a clinic where she had to stay four weeks. One of these weeks the mother was demanded to come, and another week the father. There were now six new experts judging Erika and her parents, after a separation of 2.5 years, again in a totally unnatural setting.[15][15] Below two excerpts from the summary after four weeks in the clinic are given:

“The biological mother’s relation to Erika is obviously destructive. The bio mother is not capable of protecting Erika against dangers. What is worse, the bio mother has a theory of her own that Erika should not be protected, that Erika is worse off when protected. The bio mother lacks the ability to see Erika as an independent individual. She sees herself and Erika as one unit, describes ´invisible bonds´ between them.” /…/

The mother told me about what lay behind the accusations of no protection. In company with several observers, she had been allowed to go for a walk with her daughter. She had then encouraged Erika to balance when she judged there was no danger for Erika if she fell. She had also told the observers that she thought it important for a child to learn by doing and to try things.

Here is another quotation from the summary of the third child psychiatry investigation:

“The family home must be given the authority to keep up Erika’s boundaries totally. It is necessary that the family home should be psychological parents also in reality. The bio mother must be stopped from psychologically invading the family home. One example of such an invasion was that she did not approve of the shoes bought for Erika by the family home. The bio mother’s telephone calls with Erika must end totally. Since every such telephone call means a trespass on Erika’s boundaries, where she has to protect herself against her mother’s trespassing.”

The substitute parents, that is the social agency, the experts they asked to investigate, and the foster parents they had chosen, all said that it was no good for Erika to be with her mother, or her father. The opinion expressed by the foster mother was quoted in the third investigation made:

“She has a hope that Erika with time will have an inner ability to keep her personal boundaries. She thinks that the visits by the parents have disturbed Erika’s development in that respect.”

The social agency and the politicians responsible decided, on the recommendation of the child psychiatry team, that Erika should be allowed to meet her mother twice a year under the supervision of a staff member outside the foster home, and that the mother and Erika should not be allowed to speak on the phone.

Ann appealed and argued that she wanted to see her daughter at least three hours every fourth week and to be allowed to phone her daughter once a week. She argued that the restrictions were against the intentions in the law related to forced custody and against the EU convention on human rights and against the UN convention of children’s rights.

The court argued against her appeal:

“The restrictions in contact, according to the appealed decision, are in accordance with the latest child psychiatric statement. What the mother has argued in support of her appeal and what has emerged otherwise do not constitute sufficient reason for abandoning what has been judged by child psychiatric expertise to be necessary for the best of Erika. “

Erika was 6 then, and the contact with her mother was totally broken for one year, because the social agency reported Ann to have succeeded sexual boundaries with Erika, under supervised access, a report that was found to be not substantiated by the police. Gradually the social agency has allowed Erika to see her mother more often than twice a year, at most once a month for three hours under the supervision of a social worker. The amount of time has lately been altered to five hours a month. One year ago Ann asked the social agency if she could be allowed to see her daughter without supervision. She was supported in her request by the foster parents.

In 2003 when Erika will be 12 years old, Ann tells me that Erika, who has rejected Ann, not for a long time even knowing that she was her mother, has started calling her mother. Ann says she had to adjust to the violations of her child’s and her own human rights to family life. She states:

  • The violations pale now when there has been a change for the better.

Case three. Jenny born in May 1990 was separated from her mother Jean at two months. Her sister, Jessica, born in November 1991, was separated from Jean when she came back with her mother from their 8- year exile in Serbia.

 

Jenny was a much longed for child, born in May 1990. The delivery had been traumatic involving the use of the vacuum extractor and fundal pressure. Jenny had frequent regurgitations and couldn’t use her right arm properly (the cause was damage to the brachial plexus and a small degree of injury to the brain could not be excluded). The parents took Jenny to the baby clinic weekly, where she was weighed naked and treated by a physiotherapist for her damaged arm. There were no reports about fractures or bruises. When Jenny was two months old her parents took her to hospital to be examined after they had discovered that her damaged right arm was swollen. The admitting doctor in the course of his examination did not find any bruises on the arm. He also did not see any evidence of injury on the legs, according to the medical record. Swelling of the lower part of the left thigh was not seen by anybody until the afternoon of the 30th of July. The parents hade brought Jenny in the morning of that very same day.

Some bruises discovered later during that same day in hospital, and three fractures found after x-ray examination caused the chief physician to report the parents to the social agency for child abuse. Two days after the social agency decided to take Jenny into compulsory public care.

The chief physician did not consider brittle bone disease, as did Dr C.R. Paterson from Scotland, who has been concerned with research and patient care in the field of bone disease since 1964. In March 1991 Dr Paterson, who had investigated Jenny on Jenny’s parents´ request, wrote a thorough report after examination of Jenny, her journals, her radiographs, family history of diseases and the clinical information, where he states:

“ While there can be little doubt that some form of brittle bone disease played a significant part in the causation of Jenny’s fractures, it is not clear which form is most likely to be present.”

Jenny had then already been taken into forced custody, and had not been allowed to see her parents. Jean became pregnant when the parents had good hope to have Jenny back, after Dr Paterson’s report, and the report by a psychologist who already in the beginning of December 1990 had concluded that she had found nothing in support of child abuse or anything making these parents unfit as parents.

The parent’s good hope turned to despair. They didn’t get Jenny back, after Dr Paterson’s report, showing evidence for brittle bone disease. Instead the social agency decided to take also the awaited child into forced custody, to protect her, as they in their view protected Jenny from her parents abuse. The parents fled to Jenny’s father’s home country at war, Serbia. Their second daughter Jessica was born there in November 1991.

For two years, Jean has told me, she and her husband wrote to all authorities they could, and fought every day to have Jenny back. After this, Jean says, that the children’s father has had no energy left to fight against the social agency. He studies a lot, his parents fight for their grand children.

While living in Serbia Jessica learnt the language from her father and his parents, who were very close, and of course Swedish from her mother. Jessica grew up her first seven years in life in Serbia, knowing she had a sister, but she never went to visit Jenny in Sweden. The parents called Jenny in her foster home on the phone, wrote cards to Jenny and visited her once. That was in 1993, and at that time the police ordered visitation of their home. The police came with two officials from the social agency. Later Jean has learnt that the local police had also made inquiries for them by Interpol.

The marriage broke. Jean went to Sweden, when her mother had died and she had to have an operation. Jessica stayed with her father and her grand parents in Serbia. Jean intensified the fight for having Jenny back. Jenny had been moved from her first foster home to another one in 1994. She didn’t want to see or talk to her mother. The social agency had told Jenny that her parents had abused her and broken her bones when she was a baby.

The children’s father who had great difficulties to stand the humiliation not to be able to have Jenny back, wanted to get away by working on a ship. Jean then went to Serbia and brought Jessica to Sweden in the beginning of 1999. Jessica was then seven years old and was to start school in autumn. Jean thought it a good idea for Jessica to meet future class mates and practise Swedish by attending the church’s preschool. Jessica was appreciated by the teachers and the other children there, and later at school. She was, according to her teacher, curious to learn, and did well her first weeks.

Suddenly one day Jessica was taken from school! The second of September 1999 two policemen and two social workers came and took Jessica to a secret address. The day before the same social workers had visited Jessica and her mother after having had a report from the social agency where Jessica’s sister Jenny lived, since that agency had had a report saying that Jenny’s and Jessica’s father had been reported to the police for suspected abuse. The first of September when the social agency visited they said they were coming back the next week. But as mentioned they came back the next day, together with the police. They claimed that the mother had not protected Jessica and now they had decided to protect Jessica by taking her into forced custody.

Jessica was placed 100 kilometres from home in an institution with many other children who came from broken and problematic homes. Jessica, who really had enjoyed school and liked her teacher, was cut off from school and her friends, as well as from her mother and her grandparents. One female in the staff, Sheila , in close collaboration with the social agency, acted as a substitute mother. After one month of total isolation from her former net work the family girl Jessica was reported to have sexual contacts with the boys in the institution. Sheila talked to Jessica, asked her questions about sexual details. After one week Sheila reported to the social agency that Jessica had told her that she had been sexually abused by the man her mother had lived with after the return to Sweden.

The focus was thereby not on the conditions for Jessica in the institution, but on Jessica’s mother . She really was a bad person not capable of protecting her child, stated the social agency. But Sheila was a good person according to the social agency. She was close to Jessica and could comfort her (and help in the intensified denigration of Jessica’s mother).

Sheila was the one reporting to the social agency about Jessica in the institution. They wrote after three months’ stay and when the ban on visitation for the mother had been cancelled:

“Jean visited Jessica in the institution twice a week accompanied by the staff, to prevent a negative influence on Jessica. The time of access was prolonged from one to two hours per occasion.”

After nine months in the institution when Jessica had stopped talking her Serbian native language and learnt a lot of things a little girl ought not to know about sexuality, stealing and so forth, she was placed in a second foster home (the first one in which the social agency had placed her was not considered qualified enough). This family home was situated 300 kilometres away from Jessica’s mother.

Sheila from the institution where Jessica was kept before by the social agency, where she was missing her school, was allowed by the social agency to visit Jessica when she wished, but Jessica’s mother was not allowed to visit at all.

When Jessica had been transferred her mother wrote to the local politicians responsible:

“My daughter needs peace and quiet, after having been placed in a children’s home for nine months and after what she has endured during her time in forced custody. Now it has come to my knowledge that her foster home is also a foster home on duty. I wonder if it has been considered what is best for Jessica. /…/ I only want what is best for my daughter, and am persistent if something is wrong, and is then considered to be a troublesome person. But the social agency only stresses negative things about me in order to win.”

 

The Serbian grand parents who had been very important in Jessica’s first seven years in life, were not allowed to visit or call Jessica. When they wrote to the social agency and complained that Jessica had been placed with strangers, also criticizing that Sheila was allowed to visit Jessica in the foster home but not her mother or grandparents, they got a letter saying:

“That Sheila visits Jessica is due to her having become an important person for Jessica, a person Jessica herself wants to meet. /…/

The family home has our full confidence, They are kind and caring towards Jessica, which is their task.”

After half a year in the “family home” Jessica was taken by the social agency to a psychologist specialized on sexual trauma. She investigated Jessica and recommended therapy (by herself) for at least a year twice a week the first half year. This expert conducted her investigation and her therapy on request by the social agency, who also informed her, as they had informed the “family home.”

The psychologist had thus been informed that Jessica had not been protected by her mother, when Jessica had been traumatized by her father’s physical abuse and by sexual abuse perpetrated by the man living with Jessica’s mother. These were two alleged crimes decided not to be prosecuted. The alleged crimes were taken for granted as the foundation for the therapy given to Jessica. A child who is not a victim of sexual abuse but is treated as if she was can be severely damaged by such a treatment. But of course it serves as a powerful tool in alienating the mother and everything connected to her.

The social agency writes in their report about the rejection, as if it was the child’s own will:

“In the end of October Jean phoned Jessica and said (my remark: how can the social agency know what the mother said on the phone before they had started bugging?) that if she didn’t talk to her grandparents they would come and fetch her. Jessica had then answered her mother that if she kept threatening her, Jessica would report her mother to the police. The mother had answered that the father, she herself and the grandparents would come for her. Jessica went out to the family home father so that he could hear the mother’s threats. Jean denied that she had threatened her daughter. Jessica commented that the mother lies very much. To her instructor from the social agency Jessica said that she wanted the phone calls to be bugged, as was done in the institution she lived, that was much better.”

In November 2000 the instructor from the social agency (a person Jessica’s mother had tried to have replaced) wrote to Jean:

“Hello!

Sue (the foster mother, my remark) informed me this morning that Jessica refuses to talk to you until the calls can be bugged.

 With a friendly greeting,

 SS, social secretary.”

After this Jessica called once to her mother, and thereafter Jessica didn’t want to phone her mother, according to the record written by the social agency.

The programming proves to have been efficient. When Jessica had said she didn’t want to speak to her grand parents, the social agency reports in the record kept:

“/…/ The son in the family repeated that the grandparents had to respect Jessica’s will, or otherwise it must be seen as molestation and be reported to the police. After this the telephone calls ended for a while.”

When the grandfather called again after some months the social agency wrote:

“The grand father argued hat he had a right to his grand child. He wanted to speak to Jessica. The family home mother then asked Jessica to tell her grand father what she wanted. Jessica looked afraid, but came to the phone and said that she didn’t want to speak with them. The grand father doubted this. He also said that he would come and see for himself and hang up. Jessica said afterwards ´think if they come and fetch me.´ ”

That Jessica could have been afraid (it must have been the foster mother who had reported that Jessica looked afraid to the social agency on this occasion) because she knew that she must reject her grandfather in the presence of the foster mother, is not something that comes into the mind of anyone in the social agency.

The grandparents called, and the foster home changed its phone number. The social agency stated in their report:

“On a political social agency meeting 2000-12-14, where Jean chose not to participate, prohibition of access for Jean was decided, and it was decided that she would only be allowed to speak to Jessica every second week and that the calls should then be bugged.”

The same instructor from the social agency as before, social secretary SS, wrote a letter to Jean the 20th of December in 2000:

“Hello!

Now the family home has a new phone number you can call, (the number). Telia has promised it will be installed the 21st of December,. We decided that they shall have the line open every second Sunday 19.30-20.00 starting now Sunday the 24th of December. Sundays, because we think it suits you as this is the only day you are free during the week and in the evening so that the family home is free to do other things during the day. Jessica doesn’t want you to give this number to her grandfather or grandmother.”

The social agency reports constantly that Jessica doesn’t want to see her mother and that Jessica doesn’t want to talk to her grandparents. The officials from the social agency are satisfied that Jessica is afraid and prefers them, they write in the same report: [16][16]

“”The mother phoned on Christmas eve, the first possible time for her to phone, after the family home had opened a special phone for her calls. She told Jessica that it is illegal to bug and that she has presents at home that Jessica can have when they meet. She also said that she didn’t intend to call more, which she hasn’t. Jessica has said that was a relief. When the instructor from the social agency talked to Jessica about seeing her mother during spring Jessica could agree to see her mother in Norrköping together with the family home father and the social agency. “

The social agency then wrote to Jessica’s mother that she could see Jessica on the railway station in Norrköping (200 kilometres from Jean) for one hour under supervision of them and the father from the foster home.

The mother refused to see her daughter under these humiliating circumstances where contact between them would be impossible.

The trauma Jessica suffered when she 8 years old from one day to another was cut off from her mother was not investigated or considered by the social agency or the psychologist it contacted. The continuous traumatisation going on with cutting her off not only from her mother, but of her whole family, her language, school and network of neighbours and friends, was not considered either.

All actions have been motivated by the social agency with the argument that they are responsible for the protection of Jessica. The feedback that this has harmed Jessica, instead of helped her, never comes through, as Jessica is kept isolated from her mother, seemingly of her own will preferring to stay in her “family home.”

Jessica’s mother wrote on the 10th of January in 2001 a letter to the social agency:

“I request that the forced custody of my daughter Jessica Svensson ends. Your care of her is destructive and harmful. As you know, and according to witnesses Jessica was a very caring girl until you took her in September 1999. The latest reports about her are very worrying and I know my daughter better than anyone of you. As the contact between me and Jessica because of you has been minimal I see a very dangerous development in her. First you place her in the institution where abuse takes place. Then in a foster home where the foster mother is not cooperative and is about to mentally break down my daughter.

 

                      With a friendly greeting

                      Jean Svensson”

The problems, arising while in forced custody, are found by the social agency to have been caused by the mother’s neglect. After half a year in the foster home, instructed by the therapy institution specialised in sexual abuse, the social agency stated in their report:

“According to the therapy institution specialised in sexual abuse where the psychologist works it is important that Jessica is made safe as much as possible and that contacts with relatives who makes her worry are minimized so that Jessica can profit from the therapy given.”

The social agency, ignorant of how it has abused and keeps abusing Jessica, reports in April 2001 :

“In a telephone call with Jessica 2001-04-24 she told that she had listed some things she wanted to read loud:

‘she (Jessica’s mother, my remark) doesn’t need to send me anything. I manage without.´

´I do not want to see her, because she does foolish things.

´I do not like her when she lies.´

´I do not want to talk to her.´”

Their alienation process had succeeded completely. Jessica was reported to, by her own will, totally reject her mother with absurd explanations and borrowed adult expressions and words.

 

In the end of the report the social agency listed all the attempts made by the mother and the grandparents to report the social agency to supervising authorities. The social agency was content to have won in every instance.

 

The conclusive judgment from the social agency presented in the report to the court was:

“The investigation implies that Jean still has no insight in her daughter’s need for care and that she cannot se her own participation in the traumas Jessica has endured. Jean lacks ability to understand that the different symptoms Jessica now presents emanate from Jean’s lack of nursing capability. On the contrary Jean claims that Jessica has been mentally damaged while in forced custody. It is a considerable risk that Jessica’s health and development will be damaged and that she will suffer more traumatic experiences if the mother’s wish that forced custody shall be ended is met.”

The wish expressed by the social agency to keep Jessica in their care was met by the court. Jessica, 12 years old, has no contact at all with her mother.

Today Jessica’s elder sister Jenny, 13 years old in 2003, has some contact with her mother. Jean thinks Jenny was abused in her first foster home. The explanation given by the social agency for moving her from there to a new foster home in 1994 was economic. The social agency has long wanted to transfer the legal guardianship to the new foster home, but the foster parents do not think that is the right thing to do. The social agency has then decided to transfer the legal guardianship to an elderly woman, a lawyer, who has met Jenny twice. Jean, who according to what she says, has a rather good contact with Jenny’s new foster parents, has agreed to Jenny staying with them, on a voluntary basis, including regular monthly visits for Jenny with her mother. The court will decide in May 2003, if Jean will loose the legal guardianship she has (and now wants to share with her former husband).

On the 24th of April in 2003 when I talked to Jean on the phone she said that yesterday she had been on a meeting with the social agency and the psychologist, still giving Jessica therapy, for the abuse that has been found unsubstantiated by the police. Jean had asked critical questions. The instructor from the social agency had pointed out to Jean that she is an official. This is a fact. Jean, who has full time work as an assistant nurse within psychiatry, explained to me, after her 13 years fight to have her children back:

  • I know that they are in power and that our children never will be allowed to come home. But I want to help others if I can, and prevent others from the suffering we have had and have.

Case four. Four children were separated from their mother Eliza. Eve born in March 1987,  Eileen born in July 1988 and Ellen born in November 1996 were taken into compulsory public custody in December 1996. After a court decision in October 1997 that all three were to live with their mother Eliza the two oldest were allowed to return, but not Ellen. Eve and Eileen were placed in a foster home again in March 1999. Eliza’s youngest child, Olle, born in January 2001, was separated from her as newborn in February 2001, but was allowed to come home when he was 1.5 years old.

 

Eliza moved from the north of Sweden to have a less heavy job than the one she had in a slaughter-house, where a slaughter body had fallen on her back, giving her bad back pains. She met Paul in the bakery where she found work. They got married and had two daughters. The oldest child Eve born in March 1987 had difficulties to sleep and to learn to talk and the parents sought help. She was diagnosed by medical doctors during the following years as having a developmental damage with autistic traits and was given special education. Their second child Eileen born in July 1988 had allergic and asthmatic problems. The parents decided to move to the country to have better living conditions for the children. Paul kept his work in the city and was not much at home, Eliza had two different halftime jobs that allowed her to take part in Eve’s special education. The situation was tough, and the marriage ended after ten years. The girls stayed with their mother who moved to a new apartment in the neighbourhood of Paul so that the girls could go and see their father.

Eliza longed for another child and when she got pregnant with a friend of Paul she decided to go through with it. Towards the end of her pregnancy and later she was threatened and beaten by that man.

Eliza spent four weeks in hospital before her third daughter Ellen was born in November 1996. During that period the abusive man was, for the first time, alone with Eve and Eileen in the apartment. Eliza was worried for them and she was very disturbed by the man’s behaviour towards them and towards her. She didn’t dare to tell about the threats and abuse she suffered. The staff in the hospital found Eliza’s behaviour and statements odd. In the journals it can be seen that the staff didn’t understand Eliza and disliked her. When she complained that her right knee had been hurting and asked for an examination she was not taken seriously (the knee was operated on four months later). When she said she had bad pains in her back, and that she threw up, she was thought to make this up, or she was said to exaggerate her medical problems. ( A disease of the oesophagus was diagnosed shortly after Ellen’s birth and Eliza was a year later twice operated for having a slipped disc.) The doctor in the child clinic reported that he was worried to the social agency in the community where Eliza lived. He also suggested that Eliza could be suffering from Munchausen’s syndrome, and might have invented illnesses for her two older daughters, indicating that Eliza was a case of suspected Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy.

Eliza and Ellen, a healthy child on 4000 grams, were kept against Elias’s will for ten days at the birth clinic. When they came home two social workers came and told Ellen’s parents to come to their office the next day. The choice they got was to live in an institution as the whole family was to be investigated, or that Ellen would otherwise be taken into forced custody for protective reasons.

Ellen’s father, i.e. the man who threatened and abused Eliza, had a sister who had the same boss as the social worker in charge. He was ordered to protect Ellen from Eliza. At the institution Eliza was able to move around in the wheel chair she needed when her back and knee pains were too bad, so that she could take care of her daughters. The staff at this institution had no complaints regarding the parenting and reported a healthy normal contact between mother and child. Nevertheless the social agency decided to move the family to another institution where they said there was an expert on Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy. Protests from the two oldest girls, the person in charge at the first institution, or from Eliza did not help. At the new institution it was impossible for Eliza to move around in her wheel chair. The oldest girls were not allowed to go to their ordinary schools as they had until then.

The social agency decided after just a few days in the new institution to take all three children into forced custody, and after four weeks that Ellen, then two months old, must be moved to a temporary foster mother 140 kilometres away, to be protected from her mother’s dangerous influence. Breastfeeding was ended from one day to another as well as the daily physical contact. Ellen was allowed to see her mother once a week under supervision by the social agency. The oldest girls and their mother were kept at this institution against their will for three months more.

Ellen’s father started work when Ellen had been moved to the temporary foster home. His mother, reported regularly to the social agency negative things about Eliza. According to her Eliza was unfit as a mother, and all the daughters would be better off in foster homes. Requested by the social agency a psychologist came to the institution to test, observe and to talk about the girls with the staff. She concluded that Eve was not developmentally damaged with autistic traits, as she has been repeatedly diagnosed by medical doctors. The psychologist talked about disturbed emotional relations between Eliza and her daughters, and concluded that Eliza was unfit to take properly care of her children. The oldest girls were moved to a religious foster home 2000 kilometres away. Ellen was placed in another foster home, also far away. The protests formulated by the temporary foster mother, that this was not in the best interest of the child, didn’t help. The temporary foster mother who gradually had become acquainted with Eliza, and thought of her as a good and caring mother, couldn’t understand why Ellen was not allowed to stay with Eliza. In a written statement given to Eliza’s lawyer she also demonstrated how Eliza had been described to her:

“From the staff at XX (the second institution) I was informed that Eliza was mentally ill and dangerous to her child and in general/…/ When I went to the foster mother together with a social worker she said that the child was to stay there for ever. `Here Ellen is to grow up.´”

The transfer of Ellen from the temporary foster home to a regular foster home, when Ellen was six months old, was made by the social agency before the court had decided if Ellen and her sisters should be in forced custody. When Ellen was 10 months old, in September 1997, the court decided that all three girls should come home and stay with their mother. The oldest girls were brought home, and started their schools and former activities. However Ellen was not allowed to come home, because the social agency forbade that.. They said that it is no good for small children to be moved. It became obvious that the social agency acted against the law. It then decided that Ellen should be taken to a third institution for three weeks where she was to meet her parents while the foster mother stayed there. The foster mother left after two days. Eliza, more so than Ellen’s father, took care of Ellen who, then 13 months old, started calling her “mummy” and according to a psychologist’s report got closed attached to her mother. After three weeks Eliza brought Ellen to a house on the country side to have some peace and quiet. The social worker in charge and the police came and took Ellen with force. In her and the third institution’s opinion, Ellen had not got attached to her mother, and had to be taken into forced custody and be brought back to the foster home.

The social agency and formally the political social board decided hat Eliza should not be allowed to come and visit, not to disturb Ellen.

The mother appealed every decision possible to appeal. Once more a court decided that Ellen was to be brought home immediately. The social agency considered the mother’s appeals and protests as proof of her diagnosis Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy. They asked a psychiatrist, considered to be an expert in Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy, to make a statement. He never met Eliza or any of her children, but still diagnosed Eliza as both suffering from Munchausen’s syndrome and abusing her children and having Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy, MSBP. From then on the courts have decided against the referral of Ellen to her mother.

The social journals document that Ellen had been traumatised by the loss of her mother when she had suddenly been separated from her for the second time in her short life, after three weeks of intense contact and rebonding. There are notes in the social records, after phone calls with the foster mother, that Ellen cannot sleep, is depressed, is aggressive towards her foster mother, has night mares, and at time cries constantly. The social agency considers the problems they describe to have been caused by Ellen’s contact with her mother, and decides to protect Ellen from her mother more than before. The child psychiatrist who had diagnosed Eliza as having Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy was phoned and asked for advice after a description of Ellen’s behaviour. Here is what is referred by the social agency:

“The behaviour Ellen is described to have is a destructive behaviour independent of what the cause is, says NN (the child psychiatrist). It is more than Ellen can take and the signal is to protect her from this strain. The situation is too difficult for Ellen. Ellen’s state can be compared to a brain damaged child, although Ellen has no damage. NN says that it is important to be observant of the signals from Ellen during contact. He suggests for example that the contacts become more infrequent, that the contacts become shorter, and that a photo of the parents is put in the family home for Ellen to keep an image of them. Through the contact the child is to keep the image of the parents alive for future needs, even if the child is not going home to the parents today or understands who they are.”

The MSBP diagnosis was also used in court when the social agency in March 1999 decided to take the two oldest daughters back to the former foster home in forced custody.

Eliza had reason to believe that Eve had been sexually abused in her foster home; she had during her first stay in the foster home developed a venereal disease according to the medical documentation. Eve stays there in a little cottage of her own (there is not enough room in the house for the four children the elderly foster parents have in forced custody). Eliza reported her suspicions to the police, but the report was sent to the social agency. The social agency answered that they fully trusted the foster home and that Eliza had mental problems. The police did no investigation regarding the mother’s report of suspected sexual abuse in the foster home.

The MSBP-diagnosis was used when Eliza gave birth to her fourth child, Olle, born in January 2001. He was taken into forced custody when he was 20 days old, after the social agency in Eliza’s new community had been informed the same morning by the social agency in her old community that she was dangerous to her children. The baby was taken by the police and social workers on duty while being breastfed by Eliza. Eliza and her husband decided that he should stay by their son’s side. The next day Eliza, who was not allowed to know where her husband and child were, said she wanted the social officials to give her son her breast milk, as he was born three weeks too early and needed it for his immune defence. They answered that it was not possible as it could be poisoned.

Son and father were kept at different institutions for 1.5 years. Eliza was after two weeks allowed to visit her son one hour a week under supervision by different social workers. She was not allowed to breastfeed or to give anything to eat to her son, as the social agency kept saying she could poison him. Eliza’s husband was given reports on Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy and was informed that Eliza was dangerous to her children. The social agency encouraged him repeatedly to make a choice between his child and his wife. He refused. He and Eliza kept calling each other and supported each other.

When Eliza got a life threatening cancer and was operated (July 2001) Eliza’s husband couldn’t be by her side, because they were both afraid that the social agency would then take the baby away. When Eliza informed the social agency about her cancer and asked if she could see her two eldest daughter to tell about the diagnosis herself the social workers said (according to Eliza’s lawyer who was present) to her that she exaggerated so as to be able to see her daughters. Eliza was not allowed to inform her daughters, the social agency did. Under the precondition that Eliza’s husband was not present the daughters were allowed to visit their mother in the hospital once under their supervision. The social agency had prepared the girls to ask questions to the doctor as they believe Eliza invents illnesses for herself and her children. The agency wrote in a report after the visit that Eliza had lied about her stomach pains to her daughters. They wrote that this was a lie as the girls when talking to the doctor in their presence and on their recommendation had learnt that:

“the cancer doesn’t bring about stomach pains.”

Eliza recovered from cancer.

Eliza’s fourth child was in spring 2002 allowed to be in forced custody in his home – but only if Eliza moved out. After some months more (and many meetings with the officials from the social agency ) Eliza was allowed to unite with her husband and their son. A psychiatrist, requested by the National Board of Health and Welfare to examine and diagnose Eliza, had clearly stated that the diagnoses made before were not correct.

The right to practise the human right to family life with her youngest child has strengthened Eliza to continue her fight for her other children, the three daughters still in forced custody. The social agency responsible for them argues that even if the old diagnoses are wrong Eliza is mentally ill and dangerous to her children, and that she is definitely unfit as a mother.

The denigration campaign has been intensified since Eliza has requested sole custody in order to be able to fight for Eve’s and Eileen’s right to be with their mother and father. Eliza and Paul decided in 1999 that the only chance then to have the girls back home, when Eliza had got the MSBP-diagnosis, was for Paul to have sole custody. Paul moved to a bigger apartment and waited for their daughters to return home. But the social agency did not taken any notice that ha had sole custody and wanted to have the girls to live there. In the very long fight to have the children back Paul has lost his energy. The social agency now says to Eliza that Paul wants the girls to stay in the foster home.

The oldest daughters were, against their parents’ will, placed in a free religious foster home. They have since the statement from the national Board of Health and Welfare about their mother having been wrongly diagnosed, been programmed that the devil lives in their mother. It’s because of the devil in their mother the girls said on the phone to their mother, that the diagnosis was altered, but they KNOW that she has Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy, and they KNOW that she is dangerous.

They have not since then been available on the telephone times decided by the social agency (a quarter of an hour every second Monday 19.00-19.30), and they have refused to see their mother, on the rare occasions decided by the social agency (outside the foster home six times a year for two hours under supervision of one or two social workers). They met their mother once in 2003 and then told her, as did the social workers, that she must withdraw her request to have sole custody of them, and to take them home, or she will loose contact with them for ever.

The two girls have already lost contact with their mother’s family. When they were younger they usually stayed with Eliza’s parents for part of their summer holidays. Grandmother died in their home, that was when Ellen was not allowed, as they, to return, although their grandma had tried to explain to the social agency that the social agency had to obey the court decision. Their grandpa has not been allowed to come and visit them in the foster home they were brought back to. Not their aunt or their cousin on the mother’s side. It is a massive alienation.

Ellen doesn’t say anything about Eliza, because she doesn’t know that Eliza is her mother. But when they are allowed to meet (since 1999 every second month for two hours under supervision of the foster mother and a social worker) they play and talk. Eliza is worried because according to her Ellen is not respected or loved by her foster mother (Ellen was placed there when the foster mother’s youngest child had recently died). She is also worried because Ellen has bad and too small clothes, and has not had her eyes examined regularly although she has a squint.

Eliza has again in 2002 requested in court that the forced custody of Ellen shall be ended, now that it is proved that she is not a MSBP-case, and that she and her new husband live a normal family life with a little half brother. None of the sisters have been allowed by the social agency to see their brother Olle.

The custody conflict is manifest. The social agency acts to keep Eliza’s daughters in their forced custody. As an answer to Eliza’s latest request regarding having Ellen back home they stated that Ellen. 6.5 years old, is well in her family home, although it is documented that the child has not been medically examined since she was two years old. The social agency argues that the best for Ellen is to stay in the foster home chosen by them, as her mother Eliza

“has no insight in her problems.”

When this is stated by the social agency and repeated or quoted in court it is regarded as a fact, because this is the way the system works. The social agency is according to the statutes a neutral authority in charge of helping children and families, always acting in the best interest of the children.

But in this case, as in the other cases, the social agency is a parent substitute in a complicated custody conflict, defending partial interests, and not the child/the children sadly enough.

 

 

Case five. Dan was separated by force from his mother Marion when he was nearly 12. He was taken to a child psychiatric clinic, a children’s home, to a foster home, and then moved to a former alcoholic where he died from his epilepsy nearly 15 years old.

Dan was Marion’s third child, born after she had been divorced for a long time and her oldest children were adults. Dan’s father never lived with Marion. He has been absent in Dan’s life. Marion had several medical problems with her heart and her lungs, and had an early retirement because of that.

Dan was only 6 months old when he was taken to a child’s medical clinic because of his many infections. When he was one year old he was examined for a heart problem (later found not to have any functional importance). When Dan was five years old he started treatment for epilepsy. He matured physically to a man before he was 12 years old, probably because of a tumour in hypothalamus (according to his medical records).

Marion was worried when Dan was in day care and became infected. She wanted Dan to then be at home and recover, because of his medical problems, but Dan’s medical problems were not an issue for the staff at the day care institution who thought Marion exaggerated Dan’s problems. As she herself was not very healthy, she asked the social agency for support in order to be able to take better care of Dan. Her protection of Dan and her worries for her son were interpreted as over-protection. She was, by the social agency, seen as a threat for Dan’s healthy development. The social record states that Marion had a symbiotic relation to her son and that she was unable to set up boundaries for her son. The social agency in cooperation with the child psychiatry department where Dan was investigated, decided that it was best for Dan to move from his mother to an anthroposophic boarding school. It had very strict rules and it was far away from home for Dan. Marion objected and wanted Dan to stay with her and to have extra help by a teacher in his ordinary school. This idea of to get help to help yourself was not appreciated by the social agency.

Marion criticized the care given to Dan and the other children in the institution where Dan was placed. She contacted other parents who were also critical, and reported the institution to be inspected by the National Board of Health and Welfare. The staff at the boarding school found Marion impossible to cooperate with. The responsible social worker, S, from the social agency wrote in her journal that Dan had a

“constant conflict of loyalties between his mother and the school. Dan has difficulties to attach and to profit by the treatment, he must all the time be loyal to his mother and they have some contacts that the school not fully appreciates.”

Dan was taken to the child psychiatry department and after several months he was placed in a children’s home by the social agency. He was then nearly 12 years old but looked like a man.

S explained that Dan was to stay there until they had found a qualified “family home” or another special home. Dan’s studies were stopped and he only got five hours’ school a week in the children’s home. S visited Dan and talked to the staff. She wrote the following in her journal after ten days placement and a meeting she had had with the director for the children’s home, three of the employees there, and the director for the social agency:

“The children’s home has reacted with force on Marion’s and Dan’s relation and their contact. They think that it is a curious relationship between mother and son. Dan is very demanding; ´climbing´ has a lot of body contact with Marion, provokes her and pushes her. Marion tries to defend herself but has difficulties to handle the contact with her son by herself. It is noticed that she kisses him on his cheek a little too much, considering Dan’s age. /…/ I describe Dan’s and Marion’s relation, and inform about Dan’s person whom I do not consider adequate for his age, he is on a much lower level but starts signalling that he wishes an emancipation from Marion out of the ‘symbiotic´ relation that Marion and Dan have had earlier during Dan’s whole life.”

Dan’s home vanished when his mother was evicted, because she had not been able to pay a month’s rent. S wrote in her record that the monthly child benefit from the state for Dan “goes to the social agency to help Marion buy clothes for Dan.” Marion was consequently marginalized and humiliated, as was Dan when he was forced to stay in a children’s home, not allowed to go to school, or to go home.

The social agency found a foster home they thought qualified. The foster parents was a newly married couple where the man had interrupted his third treatment for his drug addiction and the mother had a son in Dan’s age with an unknown father and a child on its way with her husband. They were invited by the social agency to the children’s home to meet Dan in May 1989.

The social agency decided to take Dan into forced custody as they found Marion not cooperative and not having insight about Dan’s needs. Dan was transported by the social agency to his foster home 400 kilometres away later in the summer, when the foster mother had given birth, and the couple had taken two young juvenile criminals also as additional foster children. Marion decided that she would move up in the neighbourhood and start studying in a folk’s high school there, so that she could regularly see Dan. The first time she visited Dan’s “family home,” was when he had been there a few weeks. She came on a notified visit together with S. The next day, when she had stayed to arrange for her studies, she made an unnotified visit to the foster home. Dan was the only one awake at 11 pm, watching video, according to the mother. The foster father came down and told Marion she was not welcome that day, or any other day.

Dan had by the social agency been separated from his mother and placed first in an institution/boarding school far away from home, then in a psychiatric clinic, then in a children’s home without school, and then in a foster home far away from his home which had been broken up. The unsafety and lack of love and care he had experienced was not commented on by the social agency. S wrote in her investigation presented to the court to have the forced custody and transfer of Dan to the chosen foster home confirmed legally:

“Dan has his special difficulties and handicaps which have been exaggerated and reinforced by his mother’s over-protection and constant worry. He has little insight or ability to handle his situation and his motoric perceptual handicap. /…/

He must have harmony and peace in his living so that he can begin a personality development. /…/ Dan must have help to grow up in another home setting, where one lives a more regular and connected life. A setting with adequate size for Dan to understand, catch up with and grasp every day. A setting that both activates him and stimulates him, but is at the same time restricted and understandable.”

A child psychiatrist who was a former colleague to the social worker who had helped S to find the foster home for Dan, wrote on request by the social agency the following statement to the court in June 1989:

“The problems, that have evolved from early infant years, must therefore be related to the outspoken difficulties, the biological mother has, to give her son such care and to put up such boundaries as children need. Therefore a placement in a family home seems to be the only credible alternative. In such a future family home placement of Dan, it is of great importance that the mother’s contact with him is restricted, so that the placement gives the boy possibilities, not only to root in his new setting, but also to be relieved from unnecessary loyalty conflicts in accordance with earlier patterns that would considerably obstruct the placement.

When S previously had written to the medical doctor responsible for Dan about Dan she had asked if it was not enough regarding Dan’s special needs that the former colleague, SS, of the child psychiatrist was involved in the case:

“The official in charge of handling Dan’s family home is SS and she has worked 17 years in the rehabilitation of disabled children in X-town. Can that not be seen as satisfying enough?”

Dan’s doctor answered in July, when the foster home was already chosen, that he took it for granted that they very carefully would pick a foster home with experiences of children with behavioural impairments as Dan had, and knowledge about how to take care of children with seizures.

S must have known that the foster home she and SS had picked didn’t fulfil the criteria set up by Dan’s doctor. But the documented fact that S was personally provoked and frustrated by Marion, was more important. In her position, S had the power to judge Marion as unfit to raise Dan for the rest of his youth. S concluded in her investigation to the court:

“As implied by the investigation Dan’s home setting has a pattern of upbringing with wrongful demands and inadequate boundaries. This together with mental stress expose Dan to such situations that his mental health and his social development is threatened. /…/

The investigator’s understanding is that: the most serious in Dan’s development is his lack of fundamental identity, caused by the fact that Dan never gets physical and psychical peace to develop his ability and his person. The investigator suggests placement in family home according to the LVU-law all the time ahead until adult life and living of his own.”

Dan’s seizures came more and more often in the foster home. He was not regularly checked for his epilepsy as he should have been or otherwise medically examined. The responsibility for his medical care was not transferred to a new doctor where he had been moved until two years had passed. S thought the most important thing was for Dan to loose weight. Dan wrote in the beginning of the placement to his mother that he was not allowed to eat as much as he wanted. Dan’s mother was very sad and extremely worried for the well-being of her son, but when she called doctors and teachers she was told that they had nothing to say regarding Dan to her. S was the one who informed everyone about Dan – and about Marion’s harmful influence on him. S visited Dan in the foster home, at the same time as she had supported that Marion should not be allowed to come at all. The social agency paid very well for Dan’s stay, and also for a teacher, something they had not wanted to do when Dan lived with his mother.

The foster mother claimed, and the social agency supported the claim, that it was Marion who was responsible for Dan’s gradually getting more frequent seizures. They said that it was when he had talked to Marion that he had his attacks. The answer to that was for the social agency to restrict Dan’s contact with his mother, even more than they had already done. They decided about no contact at all. The social workers, S and SS, who investigate, decide, execute the decisions and evaluate their own activities, wrote before the decision:

“Dan is often feeling very bad when having talked on the phone with his mother. He sweats a lot, gets anxiety and seizures the days after.”

The social agency explained to the authority the mother had forwarded her complaints and worries to, that the contact prohibition was decided

“as an effort to help Dan in the conflict of loyalties he experienced regarding

his mother and which was considered to influence his epilepsy.”

When Dan called Marion others in the foster home listened. He was called his mother’s spy by the foster parents. The authority investigator declared in her report that:

“The opinion from the family home is that Dan had his mother’s mission to control the family and report their activities and that he also was rewarded by her.”

Dan was told by his parent substitutes that Marion didn’t want to see him and that she was bad for him. He stopped writing letters, or even to ask Marion for money as he had done. He also stopped calling her.

If there had been any truth in the declarations of Marion being the cause of Dan’s seizures they would have stopped when Dan’s contacts with his mother were totally broken , but they didn’t.

Dan died, nearly 15 years old, from a series of major seizures. That was after he had experienced sexual abuse in the foster home, and had been moved to a former alcoholic, who was to be approved of by the social agency as Dan’s new foster home.

It has been decided in court that the social agency did nothing wrong.[17][17] The message is: social agencies as parent substitutes are allowed to alienate children from their parents, that is they are allowed to psychologically abuse children, as it is considered as protection of the child.

Discussion

Among Swedish politicians and professionals there is a strong confidence in the compensatory powers of foster care, which is reflected both in legislation and practise.[18][18]

In the five investigated cases[19][19] the mothers have provided normal, loving parenting, but the fathers have been absent from the beginning or have become absent during the separation and struggle to have the children back, a fact that has probably contributed to the heavy alienation of the mothers by the father substitute, in power to decide that children need to be compensated and taken from their parents.

 

Is there something in common regarding the parent substitutes as alienators?

 

In the five cases the social agency has acted as alienator. In comparison with an alienating parent in a custody conflict, the social agency as alienator has an incomparable strong power position. The social agency has, in the cases described here, been embodied in a female social worker who has from the very start taken a personal interest in the case and acted out her antipathy against the children’s mothers, not only for some time but during many years. This personal and prestigious involvement has of course not been acknowledged, but it is very obvious in a close reading of the social journals written. As a prestigious public authority figure she has got support from the rest of the social agency, the experts involved by the social agency, the politicians in the social board formally responsible for the decisions to cut off the children from their mothers, the courts and the supervising authorities, including the Swedish Parliamentary Commissioner for the Judiciary and Civil Administration.

In June 2002, the Competition for the Sporrong Lönnroth Prize was about a case similar to the ones here presented. The Competition which was initiated by professor Jacob Sundberg, who still is in charge, has been going on every year since 1984. The idea is that law students from the Nordic countries before judges from the European Court shall have a process from the point of the European Convention for Human Rights.[20][20]

It has in the past been possible to have complaints in forced custody cases accepted in the European Court for Human Rights.[21][21] The fact that the present states in Sweden and Finland have been criticized has not resulted in a reunion between the alienated children and their parents.[22][22] The verdicts of guilty from the European Court for Human Rights have not either made the state change the power given to the social agencies.[23][23]

Similar to parents in a custody conflict where one of them gains advantages by accusing the other to have abused the child, sexually or physically, this can also be seen in the cases of alienation of children resulting in PAS in forced custody conflicts.

The experts referred to by the accusing/alienating part are more listened to than the experts referred to by the accused/alienated part. This is the case even if the alienated part in the conflict has statements from well known medical experts, saying that the parent can not be blamed for the symptoms in their children, because the symptoms are of genetic origin or caused by well documented illness, birth damages or traumatization after separation from their parents.

The parents substitutes being the authorities responsible for the protection of children can argue that their actions of separating the child from a parent, is in the best interest of the child, a protection of the child. A mother believed to be dangerous for her child by an official from a social agency cannot argue that her child is dependent on her and needs her. That is against the system and can be used against her (see above) by the authorities in the social welfare state, as they tend to see the child as an individual, that stands by itself, independent of his/her family and family roots.[24][24]

Do the alienated mothers have something in common?

The mothers in the five cases have one thing in common: they have not been helpless and help seeking, but strong and stubborn. They have fought for their children’s lawful rights and have challenged the social agency by opposing the actions and restrictions. They have told the social officials that they were acting against the law, or against the intention of the law (as is true sadly enough).

The officials from the social agency are not comparable with a parent in a parental conflict as the social agency, the substitute parent, has a power position by being a public authority. The other part, the mother, in the custody conflict has no power at all.

The mothers had, at the time for forced separation, provided normal, loving parenting, but the fathers had been absent or weak, a fact that has probably contributed in different ways to deepen the alienation of the mothers by the father substitute.

The mothers as individuals with their unique personalities, bad and good sides, have had less importance than the descriptions of them as unfit/dangerous mothers. Negative, but no positive characteristics and actions, have been attributed to them, more and more over time. The constructed pictures[25][25] of the mothers as having an “inner chaos”, as unfit, as not protective enough, as a MSBP-case, or as over-protective, have proven to be very vigorous and not possible for the mothers to conquer. The social agency has the preferential right of interpretation. When questioned or criticised by the mothers knowledgeable about their and their children’s rights the social agency has acted to defend itself and the officials´ prestige by denigrating the mothers and use the children in their denigration campaign, something the mothers have not been able to fight successfully against.

How severely have the children been harmed?

The ten children involved have all been severely harmed through the long term alienation process resulting in PAS., with one exception as far as I have seen (that is Olle in case four who was reunited with his mother after 1.5 years of separation starting when he was 20 days old). One child died. The eight remaining children involved are afraid to have contact with their mothers, or reject their mothers to whom they all have had a loving relationship at the onset of the forced separation/forced custody.

Children abducted by substitute parents seem to have developed problems similar to those described by other abducted children: loss of identity, loss of love, insecurity, instability.[26][26]

The children’s relations to their fathers have not been systematically investigated, but of what is known in these cases the biological fathers have been absent physically or mentally for their children. They have not fought against the alienators to keep contact with their children as have the mothers.

Research is lacking about the long term effects of mother deprivation and of forced alienation.[27][27] The research on foster children indicates that children who are separated from their parents are at risk to develop severe problems.[28][28] What can be foreseen is that these children, when they survive, will be lonely and feel isolated as adults, if their family bonds have been totally broken. The substitute parent has no obligations when these children have reached adulthood. The “family home”-parents at that point have new children to look after and to get paid for.

 

 

What can be said about intervention and non intervention from authorities in charge of making decisions in the best interest of the child?

From what is known about foster children from studies made[29][29] and from experiences in war time, it ought to be the very last solution to place children in a foster home where they have no family bonds.

Systematic follow up studies of children in foster homes are lacking. About 40 % of them in Sweden have an immigrant background. In 1992 15 % of the children had parents where both came from abroad.

There is an existing dilemma between the intentions in the law, a rapid reunion between parents and children, and the practise, children in compulsory public custody who are kept for a long time in “family homes.” Attempts have been made to take the intention in the law regulating compulsory public custody seriously, that is to work for a reunion of the child with her/his parents. This has been called ´inclusive fostering,´ but no evaluations have been made. On the other hand the Swedish state decided, already in 1983, that children, who have been rooted in their “family homes” can stay there under the legal guardianship of their “family home parents.” Not until it was decided that the foster home could have a continuous payment was there a break through for this transfer of legal guardianship from the biological parents to the foster parents for the placed children.[30][30]

In order to make the conditions, as it is expressed, more safe, for the children who have been in foster care for a long time it has been suggested in an official report from the Swedish government (SOU 2000:77) that not only the custody but also the legal guardianship should be transferred to the foster parents. ”More safe” according to the governmental report in the sense that the placed children should not risk that the children’s parents can legally take them home when the parents´ conditions are improved.

A new law, making it mandatory for social welfare agencies to consider transfer of custody, after two years for a child in a foster home, is under consideration.[31][31] Protests have been formulated that it means only disadvantages for the child.[32][32] “Family homes” can nowadays be organized in commercial private companies including consultants, experts and other special institutions, with former officials from the social agencies often included. This kind of organized networks[33][33] with an economic interest of children in forced custody who reject their biological parents can easily violate the individual and human rights of the children kept in their institutions.

What can be done to improve the conditions for children who have been alienated in compulsory public custody conflicts?

Parental alienation syndrome has sadly enough not been known as a form of psychological abuse. The knowledge about the harm that is done to the alienated children is not yet well known. Therefore it is of vital importance that PAS is written and talked about and that social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists learn about PAS in their professional education. If PAS will be recognised I do hope that in the future it will not be possible for parent substitutes (who compared to parents in custody conflicts can be neutral) to defame a parent and to integrate the children in their campaign of denigration, and thereby alienating the children from a formerly loved parent, and in so doing harming the children.

 

 

 

__________

 

Lena Hellblom Sjögren is a licensed psychologist since 1975, she took her PhD in 1985. Since 1990 she has practised as a forensic psychologist and has investigated several PAS-cases in Sweden and Norway, some of them presented in a lecture in Frankfurt, in October 2002, published in: “PAS. An Interdisciplinary Challenge for Professionals Involved in Divorce”, 2003. The first time she wrote about PAS was in her book from 1997 “Secrets and Memories. To Investigate Reliability in Sexual Criminal Cases.” (Title translated from Swedish.)

[1][1] PAS is more specific than Parental Alienation PA, as has been pointed out by Richard Gardner (2001). Parental Alienation Syndrome vs. Parental Alienation: Which Diagnosis Should Evaluators Use in Child Custody Disputes? The American Journal of Family Therapy 30(2) 93-115. A rebuttal to Carol Bruch (2001):Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: Getting it wrong in Child Custody Cases? 35 Family Law Quarterly 527.

PAS in comparison with other similar problems or syndromes that children in custody conflicts can develop, see Deirdre Conway Rand (1997). The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome (Part I), the American Journal of Psychology, 1997.3.

[2][2] Compare identification with and defence for the one you become totally dependent on, seen in cases of kidnapping as for example Patricia Hearst, and in cases of hostages, the so called Stockholm syndrome.

[3][3] Two of them are shortly introduced in my article (2003). Making a Parent Dangerous – PAS in Sweden and Norway in The Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). An Interdisciplinary Challenge for Professionals Involved in Divorce. International Conference, Frankfurt (Main), 18.-19. October 2002.

[4][4] K. Ebert, Die Rechtssituation bei Kindesentfremdung im Europäischen Vergleich, dargestellt vornehmlich an Fallbeispielen der Strassburger Menschenrechte-Judikatur in (2003) PAS. An Interdisciplinary Challenge for Professionals Involved in Divorce. He quotes the summary of three judges in the case Olsson v. Sweden (N o. 2): “to allow access, a right which is not even refused to criminal parents in other countries.”

[5][5] Eugen Verhellen. Children’s rights in Europe – An overview and a framework for understanding in Peter Koeppel (1996) Hrsgb. Kindschaftsrecht und Völkerrecht im Europäischen Kontext. Luchterhand.

[6][6] See the judgment 12 July 2001 from ECHR, Case of K. and T. v. Finland Child where child psychiatrist Dr J.P is quoted, p.15:

“From the children’s point of view, especially, but naturally also from that of the foster parents, the foster family is a family to which the principles concerning family life enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms can be applied in the same way as to biological families. This point of view is especially important when, through the force of circumstances, the biological family has not lived together.”

[7][7] Statistics from the National Board of Health and Welfare. The voluntary placements are often in reality not consensual, as the choice is to agree to a placement or having your child placed anyway. 2.200 more children were in public compulsory custody in November 2001, placed in special institutions and other forms of homes. In Denmark, 12.733 children and juveniles under the age of 18, almost 1 % of the population in the relevant age groups were placed outside their home, the vast majority of these placements being consensual, see summary from a project under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Affairs entitled Quality in t he Placement of Children and Juveniles. Report 03:04 by Tine Egelund & Anne-Dorthe Hestbaek.

[8][8] The exact references and date of journals and other documents are available from me if requested for scientific purposes, mail@testimonia.se.

[9][9] See summary in a paper (2002) by Wilfrid von Boch-Galhau. Separation and divorce with regard to the children concerned and the effects on adult life, particularly taking the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) into consideration.

[10][10] As has been pointed out by the sociologist Stefan Carlsson foster home has, ironically enough, in the Swedish social state changed name to “family home.” Stefan Carlsson (1995): Socialtjänstens kompetens och funktion, Socialstatsprojektet 1995:1, Stockholm City University Press.

[11][11] The monthly payment from the social agency (tax money) for the foster parents to have Emma is not information the social agency has wanted to give, but in 1995 Susan’s attorney at law found out that at that time it was about 1700 USD.

[12][12] Quotation from p. 3(5). Verdict/Dom 2003-04-16 Case No/Mål Nr 2763-02, Kammarrätten i Göteborg.

[13][13] Application no. 44259/98, Application no. 67814/01. Application no. 67931/01.

[14][14] The attorney at law representing the social officials (a woman without children of her own who in the last trial in April 2003 where I was present said that the mother should not think that the daughter was there for her)  has been the same over all the years. She is paid by the local social welfare board. Susan’s attorney at law has estimated that this case has cost the Swedish taxpayers over a million USD. She, or the experts she involves, is not paid as the mother has no assurance, no public money for legal help and doesn’t have any money of her own.

[15][15] Relevant observations are difficult to make when you place child and parents in a clinic, breaking their daily routines, their net works and influencing their relations. Preferable, as I see it, is to observe the child relating to his/her parent/-s in every day life situations at home.

[16][16] Utredning/Investigation jml 50 § SoL concerning Jessica Svensson (not her real name, birth number), 2001-06-07, NN kommun, Socialförvaltningen, Familjegruppen.

[17][17] Dom/Verdict from Svea hovrätt 2001.

[18][18] Bo Vinnerljung & Martin Ribe (2001). Mortality after care among young adult foster children in Sweden, Journal of Social Welfare 2001 (10):3;164-173.

[19][19] Five cases can only indicate some common traits of the severe alienation of mothers resulting in PAS in forced custody conflicts. Further research is needed. I have in several cases of alleged, but not substantiated, sexual abuse studied how children have been alienated from their fathers and developed PAS as a result of the denigration campaigns they themselves have taken part in.

[20][20] The competition is part of the special course in law “Practical European Process” at Stockholm University. Ten Nordic universities have the same course. Responsible is Jacob Sundberg. He was installed as an honourable member in the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in October 2002 for his pioneering work within the domain of human rights. He is also the founder of the Institute for Public and International Law in Stockholm. A report is published yearly by the institute to document the competition.

[21][21] Siv Westerberg, medical doctor and attorney at law, has appealed ten times and won seven of her appeals, six of them concerning compulsory public custody, listed below:

Paulsen-Medalen & Svensson v. Sweden.
Gärdh & Kjell Persson v. Sweden.
Cecelia & Lisa Eriksson v. Sweden.
Margareta & Roger Andersson v. Sweden.

Gun & Stig Olsson v. Sweden.
Gun & Stig Olsson 2 v. Sweden.

[22][22] Case of K. and T. v. Finland, Judgment from the European Court of Human Rights Strasbourg 12 July 2001. The application (no.25702/94) was registered in November 1994.

A sad fact about these approved cases is that the children have not in spite of the acknowledgement in the European Court of Human Rights been reunited with their parents.

[23][23] The now retired Chief Justice Britta Sundberg-Weitman opposed to the arbitrariness in the new kinds of laws starting in the seventies, the so called frame laws, see her book (1981). Back to the state governed by law! /Rättsstaten Åter!.

[24][24] In the partly dissenting opinion of judge Bonello in the Case of K. and T. v. Finland, Judgment from the European Court of Human Rights Strasbourg 12 July 2001, he says:

“Had I, like the Finnish authorities, been faced with choosing whether to be cruel to the mother or to the child, I know which way I would have looked.”

[25][25] How devastating and extremely difficult it is to defeat a constructed picture is well documented in an exceptional verdict by the Honourable Mr Justice Eady, the 30th of July 2002 in the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London, WC2A 2LL. Case No:HQ9903605, HQ9903606, Christopher Lillie & Dawn Reed v. Newcastle City Council and other defendants.

[26][26] C. Finkelstein, (2003) PAS. An Interdisciplinary Challenge for Professionals Involved in Divorce.

[27][27] An overview of research has recently been made by a Norwegian psychologist, Tore Andreassen. (2003) What does the research tell us?/Hva sier forskningen? No Nordic studies on foster care passed the scientific standards.

In April 2003 a report was published by the Danish Institute for Social Research. It is about the 14.000 Danish children in public care costing 6.5 billion Danish crowns (2001), and about the lack of knowledge about the consequences for the children.

[28][28] In a Swedish study (1980) by Bohman&Sigvardsson, boys placed in stable foster homes were compared with boys who had been left in their risk homes although they were meant to be placed in foster homes, and with a group of boys who were adopted. All these three groups were compared with control groups and were followed up at the ages of 11, 15 and 18.It was found that the boys in foster homes were registered more frequently as criminals and for drinking too much alcohol. The boys left at home were doing just as well as the boys in the control groups.

[29][29]See for example: Mark V. Flinn & Barry G. England (1995). Childhood Stress and Family Environment. Current Anthropology 1995(36);6:854-866.

Bo Vinnerljung (1996). Foster children as adults/Fosterbarn som unga. Diss. (with summary in English).

[30][30] SOU 1979/80:44, p 79.

[31][31] Proposition 2002/03:53 called “Reinforced protection for children.” It is to be decided in the Swedish Parliament in June 2003. The title is referring to the child’s rights not be moved to his/her parents when the child has been what is called rooted in the family home. That the significance of de facto custody ought to be increased was proposed by Johanna Schiratzki (1997) in her dissertation Custody and Custody Disputes, Stockholm University. When the social agency is responsible for to limit or obstruct the parent’s possibilities of de facto custody without justification it must be questioned whether it is the right thing to do to transfer the legal guardianship to the foster home chosen by the social agency. Of course this proposition can be questioned for many other reasons, one being that biological bonds and loving bonds between children and parents are not replaceable. But the importance of these family and love bonds seem not be appreciated in the modern social state, where the child is seen as an individual released from the parents.

[32][32] Siv Westerberg 2001, see http://www.nkmr.org

[33][33] One such network organization that started already in 1993 in northern Sweden, has now an office in Stockholm. The name is Nåjden treatment consultant.

 Discussion

Among Swedish politicians and professionals there is a strong confidence in the compensatory powers of foster care, which is reflected both in legislation and practice. In the five cases investigated the mothers have provided normal, loving parenting. The fathers have been absent from the beginning, or have disappeared during the separation and struggle to have the children back. This fact has probably contributed to the severe alienation of the mothers by the father substitute, who have been in power to decide that the children cannot be taken care of by their mothers.

Is there something in common regarding the parent substitutes as alienators?

In these five cases the social agency has acted as alienator. In comparison with an alienating parent in a custody conflict, the social agency as alienator has an incomparably strong power position. The social agency has, in the cases described here, been embodied in a female social worker who has from the very start taken a personal interest in the case and acted out her antipathy towards the children’s mothers, not only for some time but over a period of many years. This personal and prestigious involvement has of course not been acknowledged, but it is very obvious in a close reading of the social documents. As a public authority figure, she has received support from the rest of the social agency, the experts involved by the social agency, the politicians formally responsible for the decisions to cut off the children from their mothers, the courts and the supervising authorities, including the Swedish Parliamentary Commissioner for the Judiciary and Civil Administration.

In June 2002, the Competition for the Sporrong Lönnroth Prize was about a case similar to the ones here presented. The Competition initiated by professor Jacob Sundberg, has been going on since 1984. The idea is that law students from the Nordic countries should have a process before judges from the European Court from the point of view of the European Convention for Human Rights.

It has formerly been possible to have complaints in forced custody cases accepted in the European Court for Human Rights. The fact that the state in Sweden or Finland has been criticized has not resulted in a reunion between the alienated children and their parents. Nor have the verdicts of guilty from the European Court for Human Rights made the state curtail the power delegated to the social agencies.

Similar to parents in a custody conflict where one of them gains advantages by accusing the other to have abused the child, sexually or physically, this can also be seen in the cases of  alienation of children resulting in PAS in forced custody conflicts.

More attention is paid to the experts referred to by the accusing/alienating part than to the experts referred to by the accused/alienated part. This is the case even if the alienated part in the conflict has statements from well-known medical experts, saying that the parent can not be blamed for the symptoms in their children, because they are genetic or caused by well- documented illness, congenital injuries or traumatization after separation from their parents.

The parents substitutes being the authorities responsible for the protection of children can argue that their actions of separating the child from a parent, is in the best interest of the child, a protection of the child. A mother believed to be dangerous for her child by an official from a social agency cannot argue that her child is dependent on her and needs her. That is against the system and  can be used against her (see above) by the authorities in the social welfare state, as they tend to see the child as an individual, that stands by itself, independent of his/her family and family roots.

Do the alienated mothers have something in common?

The mothers in the five cases have one thing in common: they have not been helpless and help seeking, but strong and stubborn. They have fought for their children’s lawful rights and have challenged the social agency by opposing the actions and restrictions. They have told the social officials that they were acting against the law or against the intention of the law (as is true sadly enough).

The officials from the social agency are not comparable with a parent in a parental conflict as the social agency, the substitute parent, has a power position by being a public authority. The other part, the mother, in the custody conflict has no power at all.

The mothers had, at the time for forced separation, provided normal, loving parenting, but the fathers had been absent or weak, a fact that has probably contributed in different ways to deepen the alienation of the mothers by the father substitute.

The mothers as individuals with their unique personalities, bad and good sides, have had less importance than the descriptions of them as unfit/dangerous mothers. Negative, but no positive characteristics and actions, have been attributed to them, more and more over time. The constructed pictures of the mothers as having an “inner chaos”, as unfit, as not protective enough, as a MSBP-case, or as over-protective,  have proven to be very vigorous and not possible for the mothers to conquer. The social agency has the preferential right of interpretation. When questioned or criticised by the mothers knowledgeable about their own and their children’s rights the social agency has acted to defend itself and the officials’ prestige by denigrating the mothers and use the children in their denigration campaign, something the mothers have not been able to fight successfully against.

How severely have the children been harmed?

 The ten children involved have all been severely harmed through the long-term alienation process resulting in PAS, with one exception as far as I have seen (that is the baby brother in case four who was reunited with his mother after 1.5 years of separation starting when he was 20 days old). One child died. The eight remaining children involved are afraid to have contact with their mothers, or reject their mothers, with whom they have all had a loving relationship at the onset of the forced separation/forced custody.

Children abducted by substitute parents seem to have developed problems similar to the ones described by other abducted children: loss of identity, loss of love, insecurity, instability. The children’s relations to their fathers have not been systematically investigated, but from what is known in these cases the biological fathers have been absent physically or mentally for their children. They have not fought against the alienators to keep contact with their children as have the mothers.

Research is lacking about the long-term effects of mother deprivation and of forced alienation. The research on foster children indicates that children who are separated from their parents are at risk of developing severe problems. What can be foreseen is that many of these children, when they survive and do not become criminals, drug addicts, or psychiatric patients, will be lonely and feel isolated as adults, if their family bonds have been totally broken. The substitute parent has no obligations when these children have reached majority. The “family home”-parents at that point have new children to look after and get paid for.

What can be said about intervention and non intervention by authorities in charge of making decisions in the best interest of the child?

From what is known about foster children from studies made and from experiences in war time, it ought to be the very last solution to place children in a foster home where they have no family bonds.

Systematic follow-up studies of children in foster homes are lacking. About 40 % of them in Sweden have an immigrant background.

There is an existing dilemma between the intentions in the law, a rapid reunion between parents and children, and the practice, children in compulsory public custody who are kept for a long time in “family homes.” Attempts have been made to take the intention of the law regulating compulsory public custody seriously, that is to work for a reunion of the child with her/his parents. This has been called ‘inclusive fostering,’ but no evaluations have been made. On the other hand the Swedish state decided, already in 1983, that children, who have been rooted in their “family homes” can stay there under the legal guardianship of their “family home parents.” Not until it was decided that the foster home could have a continous payment was there a break through for this transfer of legal guardianship from the biological parents to the foster parents for the placed children.

In order to make the conditions, as it is expressed, more safe, for the children who have been in foster care for a long time it has been suggested in an official report from the Swedish government (SOU 2000:77) that not only the custody but also the legal guardianship regularly should be transferred to the foster parents. More safe according to the governmental report in the sense that the placed children should not risk that the children’s parents can legally request to have their children back home when the parents’ conditions have been improved.

A new Swedish law, making it mandatory for social welfare agencies to consider transfer of custody, after three years for a child in a foster home has been considered and decided in June 2003. Protests have been formulated about the disadvantages for the child. Foster homes, officially called “Family homes”, can nowadays be organized in commercial private companies including consultants, experts and other special institutions, with former officials from the social agencies often included. This kind of organized networks] with an economic interest to have children in forced custody and influence them to reject their biological parents violate the individual and human rights of the children kept in their institutions and “homes.”

What can be done to improve the conditions for children who have been alienated in compulsory public custody conflicts?

 Parental alienation syndrome has sadly enough not been recognized as a form of psychological abuse. The harm that is done to the alienated children is not yet well known. Therefore it is of vital importance that PAS is written and talked about and that social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists learn about PAS in their professional education. If PAS will be recognized I do hope that in the future it will not be possible for social agency officials as parent substitutes (who compared to parents in custody conflicts can be neutral) to defame a parent and to integrate the children in their campaign of denigration, thereby alienating the children from a formerly loved parent, and possibly doing them irreparable harm.

REFERENCES

 1 PAS is more specific than Parental Alienation PA, as has been pointed out by  Richard Gardner (2001). Parental Alienation Syndrome vs.Parental Alienation: Which Diagnosis Should Evaluators Use in Child Custody Disputes?. 30(2) The American Journal of Family Therapy 93-115. This can be seen as a rebuttal to Carol Bruch (2001): Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: Getting it wrong in Child Custody Cases? 35 Family Law Quarterly 527.

PAS in comparison with other similar problems or syndromes that children in custody conflicts can develop see Deirdre Conway Rand (1997). The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome (Part I), 1997 The American Journal of Psychology 3.

 2 Compare identification with and defense for the one you become totally dependent on, seen in cases of kidnapping as for example Patricia Hearst, and in cases of hostages, the so called Stockholm syndrome.

 3 Two of them are shortly introduced  in my article (2003). Making a Parent Dangerous – PAS in Sweden and Norway in The Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). An Interdisciplinary Challenge for Professionals Involved in Divorce. International Conference, Frankfurt (Main), 18.-19. October 2002.

4 K. Ebert, Die Rechtssituation bei Kindesentfremdung im Europäischen Vergleich, dargestellt vornehmlich an Fallbeispielen der Strassburger Menschenrechte-Judikatur in (2003) PAS. An Interdisciplinary Challenge for Professionals Involved in Divorce. He quotes the summary of three judges in the case Olsson v. Sweden (N o. 2): “to allow access, a right which is not even refused to criminal parents in other countries.”

5 Eugen Verhellen. Children’s rights in Europe – An overview and a framework for understanding in Peter Koeppel (1996) Hrsgb. Kindschaftsrecht und Völkerrecht im Europäischen Kontext. Luchterhand.

6 See the judgment 12 July 2001 from ECHR, Case of K.and T. v. Finland Child where child  psychiatrist Dr J.P is quoted, p.15:

“From the children’s point of view, especially, but naturally also from that of the foster parents, the foster family is a family to which the principles concerning family life enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms can be applied in the same way as to biological families. This point of view is especially important when, through the force of circumstances, the biological family has not lived together.”

7 Statistics from the The National Board of Health and Welfare. The voluntary placements are often in reality not consensual, as the choice is to agree to a placement or having your child placed anyway. 2.200 more children were in public compulsory custody in November 2001, placed in special institutions and other forms of homes.  In Denmark, 12.733 children and juveniles under the age of 18, almost 1 % of the population in the relevant age groups were placed outside their home, the vast majority of these placements being consensual, see summary from a project under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Affairs entitled Quality in t he Placement of Children and Juveniles. Report 03:04 by Tine Egelund & Anne-Dorthe Hestbaek.

8 The exact references and date of journals and other documents are available from me if requested for scientific purposes, mail@testimonia.se.

9 See summary in a paper (2002) by Wilfrid von Boch-Galhau. Separation and divorce with regard to the children concerned and the effects on adult life, particularly taking the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) into consideration.

 10 As has been pointed out by the sociologist Stefan Carlsson, a  foster home has, ironically enough, in the Swedish social state changed name to “family home.” Stefan Carlsson (1995): Socialtjänstens kompetens och funktion/The competence and function of the social services, Socialstatsprojektet 1995:1, Stockholm City University Press.

11 The monthly payment from the social agency (tax money) for the foster parents to have Emma is not information the social agency has wanted to give, but in 1995 Susan’s attorney at law found out that at that time it was about 1700 USD.

12 Quotation from p.3(5). Verdict/Dom 2003-04-16 Case No/Mål Nr 2763-02, Kammarrätten i Göteborg.

13 Application no. 44259/98, Application no. 67814/01.  Application no. 67931/01.

14 The attorney at law representing the social officials (a woman without children of her own who in the last trial in April 2003 where I was present said that the mother should not think that the daughter was there for her)   has been the same over all the years. She is payed by the local social welfare board. Susan’s attorney at law has estimated that this case has cost the Swedish taxpayers over a million USD. She, or the experts she involves, is not payed as the mother has no assurance, no public money for legal help and doesn’t have any money of her own.

 15 Relevant observations are difficult to make when you place child and parents in a clinic, breaking their daily routines, their net works and influencing their relations. Preferable, as I see it, is to observe the child relating to his/her parents/-s in every day life situations at home.

16 Utredning/Investigation jml 50 § SoL  concerning Jessica Svensson (not her real name, birth number), 2001-06-07, NN kommun, Socialförvaltningen, Familjegruppen.

17 Dom/Verdict No. T 4989-00, Svea hovrätt  2001

18 Bo Vinnerljung & Martin Ribe (2001) Mortality after care among young adult foster children in Sweden, 10(3) Journal of Social Welfare 164-173.

19 Five cases can only indicate some common traits of the severe alienation of mothers resulting in PAS in forced custody conflicts. Further research is needed. I have in several cases of  alleged, but not substantiated,  sexual abuse studied how children have been alienated from their fathers and have developed PAS as a result of the denigration campaigns they themselves have taken part in after having been separated from their fathers.

20 The competition is part of the special course in law “Practical European Process” at Stockholm University. Ten Nordic universities have the same course. Responsible is Jacob Sundberg.  He was installed as an honourable member in the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in October 2002 for his pioneering work within the domain of human rights. He is also the founder of the Institute for Public and International Law in Stockholm. A report is published yearly by the institute to document the competition.

21 Siv Westerberg, medical doctor and attorney at law, has appealed ten times and won seven of her appeals, six of them concerning compulsory public custody, listed below:

Paulsen-Medalen & Svensson v. Sweden.
Gärdh & Kjell Persson v. Sweden.
Cecelia & Lisa Eriksson v. Sweden.
Margareta & Roger Andersson v. Sweden

Gun & Stig Olsson v. Sweden.

Gun & Stig Olsson 2 v. Swden.

22 Case of K. and T. v. Finland, Judgment from the European Court of Human Rights Strasbourg 12 July 2001. The application (no.25702/94) was registered in November 1994.

A sad fact about these approved cases is that the children have not in spite of the acknowledgement in the European Court of Human Rights been reunited with their parents.

23 The now retired judge Britta Sundberg-Weitman opposed to the arbitrariness in the new kinds of laws starting in the seventies, the so called frame laws, see her book (1981). Back to the state governed by law! /Rättsstaten tillbaka!.

24 In the partly dissenting opinion of judge Bonello in the Case of K. and T. v. Finland, Judgment from the European Court of Human Rights Strasbourg 12 July 2001, he says:

“Had I, like the Finnish authorities been faced with choosing whether to be cruel to the mother or to the child, I know which way I would have looked.”

25 How devastating  and extremely difficult it is to defeat a constructed picture is well documented in an exceptional verdict by the Honourable Mr Justice Eady, the 30th of July 2002 in the High Court of Justice, Queen´s Bench Division, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London, WC2A 2LL. Case No:HQ9903605, HQ9903606, Christopher Lillie & Dawn Reed v..Newcastle City Council and other defendants.

26 C. Finkelstein, (2003) PAS. An Interdisciplinary Challenge for Professionals Involved in Divorce.

 27 An overview of research has recently been made by a Norwegian psychologist, Tore Andreassen. (2003) Treatment of adolescents in institutions. What does the research tell us?/Behandling av ungdom i institusjoner, Hva sier forskningen? No Nordic studies on the effects of placing children outside their home passed the scientific standards, so in fact there is no standardized knowledge about the treatment and what happens afterwards. One Swedish descriptive study (Vinnerljung et al. 2001) concludes that 30-37 % of the placements were broken within 5 years, and mot of the placements broke down the first year.

In April 2003 a report was published by the Danish Institute for Social Research. It is about the 14.000 Danish children in public care costing 6.5 billion Danish crowns (2001) and about the lack of knowledge about the consequences for the children taken into public care.

28 In an old Swedish study (1980) by Bohman&Sigvardsson, boys placed in stable foster homes were compared with boys who had been left in their risk homes although they were meant to be placed in foster homes, and with a group of  boys who were adopted. All these three groups were compared with control groups and were followed up at the ages of 11, 15 and 18.It was found that the boys in foster homes were registered more frequently as criminals and for drinking too much alcohol. The boys left at home were doing just as well as the boys in the control groups.

29 See for example: Mark V.Flinn & Barry G.England (1995). Childhood Stress and Family Environment, 36(6) Current Anthropology 854-866.

Bo Vinnerljung (1996). Foster children as adults/Fosterbarn som unga. Diss. (with summary in English).

30 SOU 1979/80:44, p 79.

31 Proposition 2002/03:53 called “Reinforced protection for children.” It was decided in the Swedish Parliament in June 2003. The title is referring to the child’s rights not be moved to his/her parents when the child has been what is called rooted in the family home. That the significance of de facto custody ought to be increased was proposed by Johanna Schiratzki (1997) in her dissertation Custody and Custody Disputes, Stockholm University. When the social agency is responsible to limit or obstruct the parent’s possibilities of de facto custody without justification it must be questioned whether it is the right thing to do to transfer the legal guardianship to the foster home chosen by the social agency. Of course this new law can be questioned for many other reasons, one being that biological bonds and loving bonds between children and parents are not replaceable. But the importance of these family and love bonds seem not be appreciated in the modern social state, where the child is seen as an individual released from the parents.

32 Siv Westerberg 2001, see http://www.nkmr.org

33 One such network organization that started already in 1993 in northern Sweden, has now an office in Stockholm. The name is Nåjden treatmentconsultant, see  http://www.najden.se.

1997: Accusations of incest in connection with divorce: a book chapter from LHS book Secrets and Memories

Investigation of Reliability when Child Sexual Abuse is Alleged

A case study of

Accusations of incest in connection with divorce

Taken from Ch. 2: Incest? Two case descriptions in Lena Hellblom Sjögren: Hemligheter och minnen. Att utreda tillförlitlighet i sexualbrottmål/ Secrets and memories. To investigate reliability in sexual criminal cases/ , Norstedts Juridik, Stockholm 1997)

Translation by Sven H.E. Borei

[Should any question of interpretation arise concerning the translated text, the original Swedish text shall always be considered as the final arbiter.]

Introduction

Per and Ann Andersson separated on March 5, 1992, following a marriage that did not quite reach the five-year mark. Both have stated that the relationship had been troubled. At the time Per worked as a child welfare services assistant for the municipality. Ann, a nursing assistant at a child health clinic, had not worked since 1985, at which time she was put on the sicklist following a work-related injury. At the time they separated they had three children – Eva, nearly four having (born July 5, 1988), 2 1/2 year-old Lena (born October 26, 1989), and a son named Kalle (born February 12, 1992). They were deeply in debt, having lived only two months in their newly built house.

Eight weeks after their separation, Ann filed a police complaint claiming that Per had abused both daughters sexually. A preliminary investigation was begun which in turn led to Per being charged. During this time the daughters both lived with their mother.

The account of the criminal act charged

On February 15, 1993, ten months after Ann’s complaint about ”sexual abuse of a minor”, a summons application was filed by the district attorney. Eva is listed as the injured party and the acts described as follows:

”Per Andersson, father to the injured party, has on several occasions during 1991 and up to March 5, 1992, in X-city, had sexual relations with the injured party, both at his place of employment (the so-called X-base) and at the residence on X-hill. The relations consisted of his having persuaded her to touch his penis and of his having touched her genitals with his penis in a manner similar to intercourse.”

 

The investigative commission

Before formally charging the defendant on February 15, 1993, the District Court ordered a psychologist employed at the Psychiatric Clinic for Children and Youth to conduct a psychological investigation of the witness. The defendant was formally charged after she submitted her report. However, her report was criticised by the attorney for the father. After submitting several formal critical statements[1], the attorney petitioned the court to appoint a new expert after the formal charge had been lodged. The court finally agreed and the author was appointed.

The court’s commission to me was that, as an expert in witness psychology I was to express an opinion on:

”The origin of the statements regarding Eva Andersson’s statement that Per Andersson had carried out sexual acts against her that had the characteristics of sexual relationship and that these acts should have occurred during 1991 and up to March 5, 1992.”

Since the mother’s allegations on April 24, 1992, had stated that the younger sister Lena also had been abused and that she consequently had participated in the inquiry, my analysis included her as well.

The original Swedish text translated below is from the time of my official inquiry, specifically from when my report was being completed (January 14, 1994). The text was somewhat shortened and some small editorial changes were made.

 Methodology and hypotheses

In order to analyse the origins of the statements, I have asked myself the following questions:

Are these personal statements made by Eva herself? Has she made the statements with her body? If so, when, what and for whom? How is this documented? What sources of error exist? Are these conveyed reports? Have Eva’s statements and behaviours been interpreted? If so, by whom. How have the statements been made and how in turn been interpreted? What reliability can I assign to information that has been conveyed indirectly?

The methodology which Arne Trankell called ‘formal structural analysis’ calls for using scientific systemology for examine the whole structure the people concerned are part of, for testing formulated hypotheses are tested on parts and the whole, as well as taking all accepted research finds in relevant psychological areas into consideration. Having analysed the direct statements available in documented police interrogations, in video taped conversations with the original psychologist, and the audio cassettes recorded by the mother, I have investigated whether there are any observations that support the accusations against the father.

Subsequently I carried out my own investigatory interviews designed to test my main hypothesis and its opposite:

  1. The information that Eva Andersson has been sexually abused by her father is something that has its origin in Eva’s own experience and expression.
  2. The information that Eva Andersson has been sexually abused by her father is something that does not have its origin in Eva’s own experience and expression.

My interviews coupled with the earlier analysis led to new hypotheses and caused me to request the journals for the Psychiatric Clinic for Children and Youth (BUP), the Child Health Care Centre, the Paediatric Reception and the local social services department. I also talked with the attorney who represented the mother in the civil action and Eva in the criminal action.

Getting the journals proved no easy task. In spite of a reference on January 10, 1994, to the judge handling the case, followed by a renewed promise from the social services department, I did not get access to the journals I had requested since November 1993. After approval by Eva’s and Lena’s mother, I did get partial access to the BUP journals. I have never received answers to the questions I have put to the chief physician, being told by the clinic director that there was no reason for the chief physician to reply. There was no order from the court to release the journals.

The situation at the time of my investigation

The situation was difficult for everyone concerned. Ann said it was very difficult for her to be the one who had to deal with the reactions from the girls, ones she interpreted as fear of their father. She said that Eva’s outbursts of unhappiness and self-destructiveness were very painful. Ann’s interpretation was that Eva’s unhappiness stemmed from the sexual abuse that Ann was convinced Per had subjected her to. She was also completed convinced that Per had subjected Lena to sexual abuse as well and was disappointed that the charge against Per only included Eva.

Per expressed a very strong longing for his children. He said he knew what he had done and that he had never done what he was accused of. He had been suspended from his job since the early summer 1992, with formal effect since 1993 on the grounds that there were good reasons for suspecting him guilty of a crime that he could serve time for. After that he had mostly been on the sicklist.

Most of the chances for visitation that Per was supposed to have had with his son Kalle had been cancelled. The only times they had met had been at an institution and then only briefly. Per had demanded to meet his daughters (who were not told at the time that he met their little brother) in the presence of a contact person. The injunction against visiting issued by the district attorney on July 13, 1992, states that Per ought to be allowed to meet his daughters. However, the Family Rights Group and the Treatment Group did not appoint a contact person, nor had they in any other way helped the father meet his daughters up to the time for my investigation at the beginning of 1994.

The girls met their mother, their maternal grandmother and her new husband every day, since the last two lived across the street. They had not seen their father since March 1992. They had only been allowed to meet their maternal grandmother and aunt twice during the summer 1993.

What did the mother say in the complaint?

The interrogation with Eva’s and Lena’s mother Ann was held as early as April 24, 1992, the day of the complaint. Below is a quote from the minutes of that interrogation (Kalle is the then newborn little brother, two months old in April 1992). The interrogating officer was named F and was the incest expert for the X-city police department. He has written down his interpretation of the mother’s interpretation of what the mother says that Eva said:

”At that point Eva continued to move her hand down along Kalle’s penis. She fingered the penis, moved the foreskin backwards and fingered the glans. Ann thought her daughter’s actions were odd and asked her in a normal tone why she did that. Eva answered, ‘daddy does that.’ Ann asked, ‘Have you seen that?’ Eva answered in the affirmative and said it had happened at [daddy’s] job. Eva then related spontaneously that Lena, Eva and daddy had been in the toilet at his job. They played that they were tigers and lions in a cage. Eva continued, ‘and then daddy did that.’ At that point she described with her hand the same motion she had performed on Kalle’s penis. The girl showed in the air how she fingered the glans. Eva continued by separating her legs as she said, ‘and then daddy did this.’ At this point Eva took her hand and rubbed her genitals. She touched her lower abdomen. Eva continued further, telling that when daddy did that, Eva did the movement, the fingering or rubbing with [her] fingertips on her daddy’s penis.

Ann said that Eva’s description came completely spontaneously and very quickly. Eva looked up at Ann and probably saw Ann’s reaction. At that point Eva assured spontaneously, ‘that it didn’t hurt, mommy.’ During the time that Eva was talking, Lena interrupted and said something like ‘I was there too, daddy did that on me too.’ After that Ann asked if they had done ‘that’ earlier and Eva answered, ‘at X-hill and at grandma’s.”

By F’s way of quoting the conversation with the girls’ mother it is clear that he believes that the mother is retelling what actually happened and that he enters into the situations he is describing.

Had this conversation been recorded it would have been possible to hear the mother’s description of Eva’s story and the mother’s choice of words, as well as the policeman’s questions. At this point the mother’s description of Eva’s story is interpreted by the interrogator. He has learned that he shouldn’t question since then the trust could be broken, a fact he has told the author per telephone on November 23, 1993. F has been a member of the municipal consultatory group since its inception in 1983. This group is a co-operative effort between the police, treatment facilities, social services and the district attorney that deals with cases of suspected abuse of children.

The interrogator does not question whether the mother could have provided a slanted and even wrong picture – he even places quotation marks around what the mother says the children said. This leaves the impression of being factual, when in fact viewed objectively this is a young and alone mother of three who has just given birth, describing what she feels is the background for filing a complaint against the father of her children for sexual abuse of the daughters. It is necessary to take into consideration that she has a vested interest in presenting the matter so that her complaint seems justified.

The policeman ignores the fact that the mother has interpreted Eva. His report is yet another interpretation. This interpretation of an interpretation is the picture the policeman uses as point of departure for his continued work. A whole month passes before he interviews the children. Eva’s statements in police interrogation

Eva and her little sister Lena were interviewed by the same policeman who had interviewed the mother, that is X-city’s incest expert. The interview was scheduled a month after the complaint on May 22 and 25, 1992, in the girl’s room in the newly built villa. At that time Eva was nearly four years old (turned four on July 5, 1992) and Lena about 2 1/2 (turned three on October 26, 1992). Their little brother Kalle was only three months old.

On both occasions the girls’ seemed to experience the situation as a play situation. They did not seem tense or afraid, nor were they prepared to answer any questions. They laughed, sang, jumped and ran around in the videotapes that document the interviews. They wanted the visiting man to read with them, to paint and write letters, all the while alternating activities rapidly as young children are wont to do. The girls were constantly interrupting each other and doing different things at the same time, leading to the conclusion that from an interview point of view the situation must be described as chaotic.

We shall deal with both interviews in more detail in the sections where their father is mentioned or where what father has done or Eva has done with ‘daddy’s willie’ is discussed. In the preliminary investigation these interviews are mostly reported via summaries, not in dialogue format as I have transcribed them.

From the first interview with the girls (start 10.16)

While they are looking in the Malin and Totte book [Swedish children’s book], the interviewer asks if they know anyone who has a ‘willie’. Eva answers matter-of-factly:

Eva:              Boys have willies. Daddy has a willie. My daddy … (10.20).

The girls look at books and talk about it, they run around. Eva leans against the policeman’s knee and has her hands near his genitals. She seems completely secure and relaxed. The area does not seem to be sensitive for her. The policeman asks which people live there and Eva doesn’t really respond, saying instead:

Eva:  ”Daddy lives far away.”

After the interviewer F has repeated his question and received an answer, he asks:

F:                  What’s daddy done that means that he can’t live here? (10.30)

Eva :             Because he’s done many things to mommy.

F :                 Well, yes, what kind of things? (Eva runs away) You’ll have to come and tell me more about that.

Eva   (sings): Where are my felt-tips?

She talks about other things. F encourages her to come to him and talk, even asking Lena. Eva returns to the screen and says (10.34):

Eva :             Daddy moved away from mommy because daddy was nasty to mommy.

F:                  Oh, what did he do?

Eva :             …my mommy.

F:                  Has he been nasty in some other way?

Eva:              No. (She begins to talk with Lena about make-up.)

F:                  Do you think he’s been nasty some other way?

Eva:              Now you take yours like this (to Lena ).

F                   (pushing): Eva!

Eva               (turns towards F): What?

F:                  Has he been nasty in some other way?

Eva:              No!

F:                  Mm?

Eva:              I’m not telling any more ‘cause I’m tired.

F:                  Well, that’s something.

Eva:              If I could find it, I’d show you the make-up.

F:                  But I’d like to know, I’d really like to know what it is you don’t want to tell.

You can hear on the interrogator’s voice that he thinks Eva is hiding something. Eva answers ”I’m not saying” when F asks at the beginning what his name is, something that suggests that in both situations she either is not able to answer or does not want to.

Then Eva talks about some boys on X-hill and that they had chives, while she is busy with the make-up. F tries to interrupt with questions about father. Both girls seem unconcerned. What Eva has told is that she knows daddy did things to mommy that mommy did not like. Eva calls these things nasty.

F:      For that matter, have you visited you daddy at his job?

Evan answers no and says that the next time they are going to take the train to grandmother’s. According to Per, Eva and Lena have been at his new job once with their mother at a time when he wasn’t there. Can this be what Eva is referring to? Is that why she answers no again when F asks if they have visited daddy and why she repeats that they are going to ride the train to grandmother?

”You said that daddy had done something to mommy. Has he done anything to you?” asks F, turning towards Lena. She giggles and answers that daddy ”has sat on Eva.” Eva laughs and confirms that ”he has sat on me.”

If it were a question of abuse the girls would not look so happy and unconcerned, nor would they relate with a giggle. They have probably played something. Three times F encourages Eva to tell, but Eva does not care until he says that he will not help her open the make-up box if she does not tell him at the same time (bribe):

F:                  What did he do when he sat on you?

Eva :             He jumped. (Eva shuffles forwards a bit where she sits on the floor next to F and jumps up and down a little while she moves her arms forwards and upwards – downwards. She looks happy and it happens quickly.)

F:                  He jumped, eh? What was he wearing then?  (video time  10.40)

Eva:              Sweater … pants. Open already!

F:                  Were you wearing any clothes then?

Eva:              Elephant.

F:                  Elephant, eh.

Eva:              And PJ-pants.

F:                  Tell me more about when daddy sat on you.

On the tape you can see that Eva is mostly interested in playing with her make-up and answers a bit impatiently to all expectant – and leading – questions. She pushes F to open the make-up box like he had promised if she told more.

At 10.45 F asks if they played lions and tigers at their father’s job. The mother had said so in her complaint. Eva answers yes, but she says ”don’t know” when he asks how and what happened then. Eva talks about the make-up and Lena says she wants to paint the policeman. For six minutes, he continues to ask what happened when they played lions and tigers without getting an answer. Once Eva responded that they played it because ”we wanted to”, but ”don’t know” to the follow-up question of what happened then. Neither she nor Lena mentioned any time that their father had been there.

By again taking out the Totte and Malin book, F can lead the conversation back to the father’s penis.

F:                  Have you ever touched your daddy’s willie? Eh? Have you touched it? (looks at Eva ). Lena? (turns to Lena ).

Eva               (who is putting on Indian paint): I’ve touched his willie.

F:                  You’ve touched his willie? Can you tell me what you did then?

Eva:              Touched (or tickled – it’s difficult to hear [2]) ‘im.

F:                  You touched him, eh?

Eva:              I tickled him.

F:                  You touched him.

Eva:              No! tickled.

F:                  Du tickled. OK. What did you do then? Show me with your fingers.

Eva takes the middle fingers of her right hand and touches her leg lightly; it happens quickly and then she says she’s going to be an Indian.

F:                  What happened then. What did daddy do?

Eva:              I don’t …

F:                  What’s that?

Eva :             … know.

F:                  What did daddy do?

Eva :             He moved.

F:                  OK, he moved. How?

Eva               (Moves a little where she is sitting painting herself.)

F:                  Where were you then, Eva?

Eva:              At daddy’s job. /Where she earlier said that she’s never been with her daddy./

F:                  OK, at daddy’s job.

Lena :           I want to be and Indian too.

F:                  He moved. Where were you?

Eva:              At daddy’s that job.

F:                  At daddy’s that job. Mm, OK. Why did it happen, what was it that made you, you touch his willie?

Eva:              Don’t know.

F:                  What’s that?

Eva:              I don’t know.

F:                  So, did you decide to do it yourself or did daddy say you should do it?

Eva:              He said like this that I should touch his willie.

Eva is sitting with her back to F, writing on her hand. She uses information she has received in the previous question and responds to the expectations F has expressed, instead of saying ‘I don’t know’ a third time.

F:                  Ok, yes. How did his willie look then. Eva, how did his; Eva, how did daddy’s willie look when you touched it?

Eva :             (hard to hear)

F:                  Did it hang down or was it in some other way?

Eva:              Down.

F :                 Did it hang like this (points his right index finger downwards)? Show me with your finger how daddy’s willie looked then.

Because she has the felt-tip she has been using to paint herself with in her right hand, Eva points downwards with her left index finger just like F’s finger.

F:                  OK, yes. What did daddy do then. Did he do something to you when you touched his willie?

Eva:              No.

F:                  If he did something to you. Tell more about when you touched daddy’s willie.

Eva:              I have to pick up now.

F                   pushes Eva: Tell more!  (10.56).

Eva:              I really have to pick up.

F:                  Was Lena there when you touched daddy’s willie?

Eva :             Yes, but…

There is nothing to suggest that either Eva or Lena is relating an abuse situation. Eva answers matter-of-factly that daddy has a ‘willie’ and that she has touched it. Both Per and Ann have related that both girls – according to Per mostly Lena – have examined his penis. Lena has crept up into the policeman’s lap. Eva has left the room. F then turns to Lena where she is sitting on his lap.

F:                  Were you there when Eva touched daddy’s willie? What did she do?

Lena:            Don’t know.

F:                  Where were you?

Lena:            Don’t know.

Then she says something about the playing.

F:                  How, how, what did you do when Eva touched daddy’s willie?  … What did you                           do then?

In spite of the fact that F repeats his question three time and encourages her to answer by humming, Lena gives no answer. F’s questions are too abstract and complicated for a child who’s just learned to talk. Eva returns and asks about the flower on her dress that F says is backwards. She tries to turn the dress and is encouraged by F to go to her mother for help.

F:                  Was Eva dressed when she touched daddy’s willie?

Lena:            Maybe.

F:                  What did you say?

Lena:            Maybe.

F:                  Maybe, OK. How was it now with daddy? Hmm.

Lena:            Fold out like this  (she’s been talking about the things she’s been playing with                            the whole time.)

F:                  Tell me more. Hmm. Can you do that?

 

Lena is just over two years old, does not understand and does not know that many words. She doesn’t answer. Eva returns and is met by a challenge to show something that she apparently has not understood.

As we have seen above, each question where the interrogator repeats that Eva ‘has touched daddy’s willie’ is a form of training. This type of repetition and clearly demonstrated expectation comprises not only training, but also influence. This strong influence continues:

F:                  Tell me more about what happened when you touched daddy’s willie. Hmm. Can you show me, Lena or Eva? I’m holding it (he picks up a thick, black pen), OK, let’s pretend that this is daddy’s willie. Can you show what you did?

Eva took the pen, spread her legs a bit and placed the pen between them. Then she jumped up and down very rapidly and said happily: ”Daddy sat like that and then I jumped. (11.00)

F:                  Aha, his willie. One more time. I didn’t see, Eva. Can you stand up and show it again? Hmm? You can’t, eh? (To Lena, who is still sitting in his lap.) Can you stand up a bit, I saw … we lost something.

After a while F goes to the camera. Eva stays seated, drawing. F sits down on the floor again, about where the beds meet. And then he first says that Eva has shown how her father’s penis had been, followed by saying that she has shown where her father’s penis had been. What he had asked her was something else again, namely to show what she did when she touched her father’s penis.

F:                  Eva, you showed how daddy’s willie was, eh? Yes, look, you have pens there (to Lena). You have pens up there. Yes, that’s right.

Eva:              Those are really my pens.

F:                  They are your pens.

Eva:              They are mine and Lena’s.

F:                  But you showed me where daddy’s willie had been. Eva! Show me again! There, OK. (11.03)

Eva took the black pen between her legs and said matter-of-factly (author’s italics):

Eva:              And daddy had balls.

F:                  What?

Eva:              And daddy had balls too.

F:                  He had balls as well?

Eva:              Do you have balls too?

F:                  Yes, I have balls too.

Eva:              You willie too?

F:                  Yes, I have a willie. I’m a boy.

Eva:              Boy dolls.  (sounds like)

F:                  What can you do more with the willie?

Eva:              I don’t know.

F:                  I thought you could do something else. You showed that he touched or that you touched it. And then it was where you showed before in your front bottom. Hmmm. (Eva has continued to play with the make-up and has got some on her, as well as a spot on her dress.) Then you’ll have to take a bath, I think. Ask mommy to help you wash yourself.

There seems to have been either a misunderstanding above or a misrepresentation. F says that Eva has shown that her father’s penis has been in her ‘front bottom’, but what Eva has done is taken a pen between her legs and then happily commented that her father ‘had balls too’ and asked if F also has balls and a ‘willie’. It would seem from the context and her statements that Eva has shown that her father’s penis sat between his legs and informed the policeman that her father has balls. Immediately afterwards she has asked the policeman about these things.

Eva calls out to her mother that she has spilled on her dress and gets the answer that they will wash it off later. F and Eva continue to talk past each other.

F:                  Eva , what you showed me, has it happened once or several times?

Eva:              No.

F:                  Many times?

Eva:              Not a lot.

F:                  How many times then? Can you show with your fingers?

Eva does not respond, drawing instead on her fingers and talking about that. She seems happy and in no way occupied in telling about something unpleasant that’s happened to her. It’s probably unclear to Eva what the grown-up man means with ’what you showed me’ since she’s shown him several different things. But she has never shown that her daddy has had his penis in her ’front bottom’. That is F’s interpretation (misinterpretation).

F continues to interrupt the play with his questions, all of which express a very strong expectation. In addition, it’s probably unclear to Eva what F means with ’there’.

F:                  I’m really curious about how it was when your daddy had his willie there. Was he standing or sitting? Or what was he doing?

Eva:              Sitting.

F:                  He was sitting?

Eva:              Yes.

F:                  On what?

Eva:              I don’t know.

F:                  Was he sitting on a chair?

Eva:              He sat on a chair.

F:                  Where were you?

Eva:              At home.

F:                  What room were you in, Eva?

Eva:              I don’t know.

F:                  Which room was it?

Eva:              It was in daddy’s room. I sat in daddy’s room at home.

F:                  You sat in daddy’s room. OK and then?

Eva sings that she’s finished (with the painting and make-up).

F:                  Eva, show me how you sat.

Eva               leans standing up against the bed behind her.

F:                  You sat like that and daddy sat in a chair?

Eva               (sighs): I didn’t sit at daddy’s place. I sat at home.

F:                  But I thought that was when he had his willie in your ’front bottom’ like you showed me.

Eva:              I don’t know about that.

Eva sighs and makes it clear that she was not sitting at her daddy’s. She goes out to her mother. F repeats many times that daddy has had his penis on Eva (see the question to Lena below) or in Eva’s ’wee-wee’ (as in many questions to Eva). Neither of the girls seems to understand what the grown-up man is sure has happened.

F to Lena:    Can you sit here now that Eva has gone out to mommy.

F:                  Did you see when Eva …

Lena:            I’m painting your forehead.

F:                  … when Eva, when daddy had his willie on Eva? Did you see it? (11.07)

Lena:            Yes.

F:                  Right. What happened then?

Lena:            Don’t know.

F:                  What did daddy do? How was he?

Lena:            I’m going to paint you.

Eva               returns (11.08): Can you look at something?

F:                  Yes. Just stand there a moment, Eva so I can ask you? You told me that you had touched your daddy’s willie. Now I want to know if he has touched your ’front bottom’?

Eva               (expectantly, perhaps because F has said he’ll come along and look at what she want to show ) answers happily:

Eva:              Yes and I touched his willie.

F:                  Show me how he touched your ’front bottom’. What did he do then?

Eva, who has repeated that she has touched her daddy’s ’willie’ is now encouraged to show how he touched her ’front bottom’. She places her right hand outside her yellow dress about where his ’willie’ and her ’front bottom’ are, that is between the legs and performs what I would call a tickling motion. She spreads her fingers apart in the way you do when you are tickling someone.

Eva:              He tickled.

F:                  Right, yes.

Eva:              Do you know what I did on daddy?

F:                  No.

Eva:              Tickled him too.

F asks where it happened. Eva says: ”Come!” She’s nagged a long time about showing something. F then turns to Lena and asks: ”Have you ever touched your daddy’s willie?” With her pacifier in her mouth, Lena’s answer is unintelligible, but then says: ”I’m going to point your arm.” F says to Eva that Lena must be allowed to finish painting before he can come and look, but then he says that he has to leave and they’ll have to look the next time.

From the second interview (start 10.08)

The mother is in the room when the video camera starts. She picks up their small brother who’s just woken up. Lena fetches a lot of books. They think they are going to read books. F asks ’knowledge’ questions as they look through a book, such as: ”What’s that? What happens to the egg? What do you call the chick’s daddy? The mother is called hen.” Eva answers that he’s called Nils. ”Can it also be called a rooster,” asks F. After Eva has said that the chick is angry and sad, the interviewer asks:

F:                  Have you ever been angry and sad?

Eva:              No!

 

Lena [sic]    says (10.19) that she’s going to read the ’Totte’ book and F says:

F:                  Didn’t you tell me the last time we met, Eva, that you had your daddy’s willie somewhere?

Lena  comes in and says something about a gingerbread house. F goes and checks the camera.

F:                  Tell me …

Eva:              I think it’s a bother.

F:                  You think it’s a bother? I thought you could show, take some dolls and show how it happened (sounds disappointed). Hmmm. I don’t really understand how it went. Can you take your dolls and show how it went?

Eva sings ”Here’s my teddy bear” and jumps up in the bed behind F.

F:                  Eva, I don’t understand. You said that you jumped.

Eva               sings:           I jumped.

F                   encourages Eva to show using the teddy bear and the doll.

F:                  Eva, can’t you show what happened when you sat on your daddy or he sat on you?

One after the other, Eva places the teddy bear and the doll on her head and makes them jump a little up and down while she says:

Eva:              Daddy, I sat like this on the head and then daddy jumped on my head.

Once again F asks where her daddy’s ’willie’ was. Eva makes a movement that can’t be seen on the tape since she is hidden behind the interviewer on the bed. The interview protocol reports (pg. 9):

”On being asked where her daddy’s penis was, she pointed downward towards her genitals. Eva made no more precise demonstration.”

 

With a built-in presupposition, F asks.

F:                  And your daddy’s willie, where was it on you?

Eva               doesn’t answer.

 

Both girls are ’reading’. F tries several times to ask about their daddy’s ’willie’, but gets no further than ”Eva, I thought …” before being interrupted. He does succeed in formulating the whole question once (and then it’s very leading):

F:                  I’ve thought about it, your daddy’s willie – was it on your ’front bottom’?

 

Eva is leafing through a book and talking out loud about what she sees in the book. F tries several times with:   ”Eva, I’ve thought about it, your daddy’s willie was on your ’front bottom…”

No answer. From having asked where her daddy’s ’willie’ was on Eva and changing to asking if it was on her ’front bottom’, he has now moved on to saying that it was there, (just as he did towards the end of the last interview)(see above).

F:                  Lena, you know we talked the last time … (he picks up the dolls and asks at 10.28)… how it was when your daddy jumps on Eva.

For 2 1/2 year old Lena it can be difficult to understand which situation  or possible event the man is talking about. It can also be confusing that he asks [his question] as if her daddy is about to jump on Eva. Indeed, throughout both interviews it is difficult to tell if the interviewer and the girls are talking about the same thing.

Lena takes a doll and holds it against her head and jumps up and down on the small children’s chair. Then she throws the dolls after she’s done the same thing with the other doll after F has told her which of the dolls is Eva and which is her daddy.

After this the discussion is about bookmarks or scraps. F asks if they have any. The fact that Eva answers yes to the repeated question if they’ve done something to get bookmarks from their daddy can have many explanations. It does not necessarily mean that their daddy has abused his daughters sexually, paying them off with bookmarks. However, that’s how both the police and their mother interpret the whole thing.

Trying to get the girls to talk about the sexual abuse he believes they have been exposed to, F asks Eva (10.40):

F:                  Eva,  last time you showed where your daddy’s willie was – has it been on the back too?

Eva:              No!

It is probable that the last time Eva showed where her daddy’s willie was – on her daddy – between the legs. Now, when Eva is asked this question, she thinks that F is asking odd questions. After all he’s a boy himself with a willie between his legs – he’s confirmed that to Eva. He should know that it isn’t on the back too. So she answer emphatically ”No!”

Then F asks a question which also can be hard for Eva to understand:

F:                  Has your [maternal] grandfather’s willie been there too?

Eva               who is sitting in the policeman’s lap, says matter of factly.

Eva:              My grandfather too has a willie.

F then asks the girls if they’ve seen their grandfather’s willie. Both answer no. Then F leans over towards Eva’s head so his cheek touches her hair and says softly

F:                  You’ll have to tell more. Last time you pointed out where your daddy’s willie had been – are there any more places, Lena — or Eva? Has it been somewhere else? Eh?

Eva:              No.

F:                  You only have to point. Like that. Has it been somewhere else?

Eva:              I don’t know where it is (with a surly voice).

Eva hops off the policeman’s lap and climbs up on her bed. This reaction added to her answer reinforces further the interpretation that she has told and shown where boys have their willie. She seems tired of all questions about if the willie has been somewhere else than between the legs where it belongs.

F:                  Eva, have you…

Eva:              I’m tired.

F:                  Yes, you’re tired. But I only thought you should point and show once.

Eva tries to take the book Lena is holding. Lena runs around, fetches paper and felt-tips and climbs up in the policeman’s lap. (10.44)

F:                  Look here, Eva, has your daddy’s willie been anywhere else than where you showed on your front bottom? Eh?

Eva doesn’t answer. She fetches paper after having said she is going to write her mommy. After an incident where Eva bumped her head on the desk, gone out and been comforted by her mother, the girls are happy and singing again. They seem completely uninterested in F’s questions. But he doesn’t give up. At 10.49 he asks again about when they played lions and tigers and elephant, something their mother had told him when he interviewed her.

F:                  Who was the elephant? Daddy. And then you said  (When? It is not on the tape.) that the elephant had a trunk, you said; what was it that was the trunk? Lena or Eva. What was it that was the trunk?

 

Eva is sitting at the desk writing. Lena is on the floor below, playing.

 

F:                  Can you tell me? I don’t know. Tell me..

Eva               writes and Lena sings.

F:                  Eva, Eva, I’m curious over something… I’m wondering over something.

Eva               writes, Lena sings and hums, neither seeming to hear F.

F:                  Listen Eva, I’m curious over something. Where you dressed when you played lions and tigers?

Eva answers yes, she had a jacket on.

F covers his face and looks at the clock (10.53). He changes the camera setting so the beds appear on the tape and encourages Eva to come. She asks for help with writing letters to her mother. F says that first Eva should come to him and look in the book – then he’ll help her. She doesn’t come. F changes the camera position again so that Eva is in the picture at the desk. He asks what she wants help with and says in a soft voice (10.57, author’s italics).

F:                  Tell me now at the same time what … if, if your daddy’s willie has been somewhere else than on your ’front bottom’? Has it? Eh?

Eva               is silent.

F:                  Has your daddy’s willie been somewhere else than on your ’front bottom’?

Eva:              Yes  (looking at F).

F:                  Where was that?

Eva:              Don’t know.

F:                  Point. Where was that, Eva ? Hmm.

Eva               draws.

F:                  Where was that, Eva? Can you point? (Expectation in his voice.)

Eva :             –

F:                  Now you point out first if it has been somewhere else. Then you can write the next letter.

Eva:              It was at daddy’s work.

F:                  What happened then when you were at your daddy’s work?

Eve doesn’t answer. It becomes obvious from the above that F is ’bribing’ Eva again. The first time was in the first interview when he said he’d help her open the make-up box if she told him more. How he says that she can’t write the next letter until she has shown where her daddy’s penis ”has been somewhere else”. Eva doesn’t answer.

We can see that F is pressing Eva. During the entire sequence, he shows very clearly what he expects and that he really only is interested in having her say something about her daddy’s willie or to describe something nasty her daddy has done. But Eva can’t understand what it is he thinks has happened. The answer that Eva finally gives to the policeman’s repeated question about where else her daddy’s penis has been is that it has been at ”daddy’s work” – a complete non sequitur. While Eva has not understood what F is asking, she knows that he has said he thinks they’ve been at her daddy’s work and that something happened there.

A bit later F asks:

F:                  When you got bookmarks from your daddy, what had happened then? Had something happened? Tell me. Hmmm…

 

F  repeats this question to Eva and then to Lena since Eva has run out to show her mother what she’s written. Lena, who is just two years old, answers: ”I don’t know”. (Author’s italics below):

 

F:                  Have you seen where your daddy’s willie has been? If it’s been on Eva?

Lena:            No.

F  doesn’t seem to accept Lena’s no as a no, asking instead:

F:                  Can you show where daddy’s willie has been on Lena, no I mean on Eva?

Lena:            I’m only going to … She plays with the dolls in the dollhouse and says: ”You can play with them too.”

F:                  Can’t you show where daddy’s willie was on Lena, Eva?

Lena:            Wait a bit.

F asks Lena to fetch Eva, which she does.

F:                  I have two follow-up questions. Where has your daddy’s willie been? You showed me on your ’front bottom’. Has it been somewhere else?

Eva:              No.

F:                  When your daddy had his willie on you in your ’front bottom’, did you have pants on then? Or had you no pants on?

Eva:              I was naked. He was too naked. And Lena too (somewhat triumphant).

F asks what happened. Eva wants to build (11.10). There is no answer to the question and the interview ends at this point.

Comments

It is often rather difficult to hear what the girls are saying. After listening to the video-tape several times and analysing what is said, as well as what happens in the communication between the policeman and primarily Eva, it is evident that the presentation in the preliminary investigation does not quote certain replies correctly and the comments are coloured by the picture that the investigating policeman has about what has occurred, such as:

”Eva               (Took the pen herself and moved it towards her vagina) … and daddy had balls too.

F:                    What did you say?

Eva:                … daddy had a stick.” (p. 8 in the protocol.k.fup;)

As Eva never used the word stick, this is a misinterpretation. What the policeman interprets as Eva herself taking the pen ( = stick = her daddy’s penis in the policeman’s picture) and ”moved it in towards her vagina” seems to me to be Eva using the pen to show where her daddy’s penis is, namely between his legs. It is reasonable to make this interpretation in the light of the fact that Eva does not seem to be talking about an event at all, does not seem afraid nor seems to remember something. She is occupied with boys having ’willies’ and balls, something she also asks the policeman if he has. When he asks her with great expectation if anything ”else” happened, Eve responds happily that she is finished and is going to pick up.

Here is yet another quote from the policeman’s presentation of his interviews, (p. 8 of the protocol):

”F:                   OK, show how he touched your ’front bottom’ then. What did he do then?

Eva                 (demonstrates by rubbing her hand on her genitals).

F:                    OK.

Eva:                He tickled and do you know what I did to daddy?

F:                    No.

Eva:                … tickled him too. Now we’re going to look at the thing.”

What the policeman describes as Eva  ”rubbing her hand on her genitals” looks to me like Eva taking her right index finger outside her yellow dress and making a ’tickling’ motion in the same way people usually tickle small children. She confirms this with her own words that that is what she has done – tickled daddy and daddy tickled her.

Eva’s earlier word kela (with a hard k) seems to mean both hug and tickle, or Eva is using F’s word from earlier, namely killa or tickle.

In other words, it seems that F has either misunderstood or misinterpreted Eva on these two central points:

  1. F thinks that Eva has shown that her daddy has had his penis in or on her genitals, when she was showing him where her daddy’s penis is.
  2. F thinks that Eva has shown him that her daddy has rubbed her genitals, when she was showing him that her daddy tickled her.

The first authentic, documented statements from Eva are those in the two videotaped interviews. Consequently these are the most crucial statements in the whole material for the analysis of whether the suspicions that Per Andersson has abused his daughter are factually based.

Neither Eva nor Lena distance themselves in any way from the interviewer, in spite of the fact that he neither really plays nor really listens. Rather he shows clearly that the only thing is really interested in is something nasty that he thinks their daddy has done to them. The girls get up on his lap and do not seem to see the genital area as a loaded one. Eva shows a curiosity quite suitable for her age regarding whether F has a willie and balls just like her daddy.

The interviewer’s questions asking why the girls got bookmarks from their daddy (”Have you been nice in some way? Or have you done something? Eva, when you got bookmarks from your daddy?”) show that the interviewer has a preconception that the girls have performed some sort of service for their daddy and been given the bookmarks in thanks.

Can this preconception on the part of the interviewer, one that can be seen in many of his questions in that they express a strong expectation both in choice of words and in intonation, also have led to his interpreting the answers he has received in a chosen direction, as well as misunderstanding or misinterpreting certain answers? Has Eva ever told the police or shown that her daddy has exposed her to any form of sexual abuse?

Eva never relates or shows anything spontaneously about her daddy. Rather she says that her daddy has done something towards her mommy. On Lena’s initiative we find a laughing Eva confirming that ”daddy has sat on me.” She doesn’t describe one or several distinguishable events and never about anything her daddy has done that scared her.

Consequence and consistency say as little as confidence and certainty as to whether a statement can be trusted. The so-called reality criteria have been developed after analysis of a large body of empirical material dealing with sexual offences against children. When Udo Undeutsch and Arne Trankell worked out the criteria for the so-called statement analysis method, their basic observation was that statement about something actually experienced, something self-experienced differ from other statements.

The first of these so-called reality criteria, internal consistency, is not satisfied. The statements made by Eva do not confirm each other when it comes to time, place or actors. For example, she first says that she has not been to her daddy’s job and later she affirms that she has played lions and tigers at her daddy’s ”that job”. She never mentions any abuse.

Nor are the criteria relating to capability and originality (in single, unique instances) satisfied. Eva is old enough and sufficiently secure in the situation to tell if something really had happened to her. She doesn’t. Nor does she say or show anything that is so unusual that it could be interpreted as if she had been exposed to abuse.

Other observations that provide support for conclusions as to whether statements can be seen being based on something the speaker has herself experienced or not include the following.

Reporting subjective experiences. The feelings that Eva expresses are inadequate as support for an assumption that it is something improper or frightening she is talking about. She laughs and plays when she talks about her daddy’s ’willie’ and the fact that she has kelat or tickled it.

Wealth of detailed description (not through questions or influence). There simply are no spontaneous or changeable details in what is revealed in the two interviews, in any case none that can be tied to some self-experienced abuse situation. One example is that Eva says ’elephant’ at one time, but it is in response to a question on how she was dressed. Details revealed through leading or suggestive questions can be interview products that cannot be assigned any value.

Complications, quotes from conversations and sudden memories. People talk about events that they have participated in special ways. Perhaps some complication occurred to disturb the situation, perhaps you suddenly remember something someone said, or you remember what you’ve felt or thought or heard. Since she has never talked about a sequence of events, she can’t describe how that sequence was disturbed or that she heard her daddy say something or that she suddenly remembers something from an event.

It has been claimed that Eva has told and in police interviews shown that her daddy has had his penis against her genitalia, that she has played with his penis and that she has indicated the sauna at home and her daddy’s job as the places (Undated answer to the father’s attorney by the psychologist at the Psychiatric Clinic for Children and Youth – BUP). Those videotapes I have seen contains none of these facts, with the undramatic exception that she has tickled her daddy’s penis.

Summary. There is nothing in what Eva or Lena say or express in some other way in the police interviews that suggest that she or they describe some self-experienced sexual abuse by their daddy.

Is there evidence that Eva has said or shown something in some other context or has someone else close to her made observations that in spite of this fact can be interpreted to suggest that she has been sexually abused by her daddy? To ascertain that, additional information must be collected and analysed.

Statements by the girls during interviews with the investigating BUP psychologist.

At the close of the summer some four months after the previous videotaping session with the girls and six months since their daddy had moved out, new videotaped sessions were scheduled with the girls. The reason was interviews by the BUP psychologist. This time the girls were interviewed separately, first  Eva.

Eva and the interviewer are sitting on the floor where the beds meet, but Eva moves around a lot.  She jumps up and down on her small child-size chair, seemingly falling off. She seems happy, though not very interested in answering any questions. Below I quote the statement sequences that deal with her daddy and report on the rest of the interview.

The tape starts out with questions from the psychologist about how old Eva is and about her day-care centre. Eva answers that her favourite game is a rhyming game where you jump on your butt. She says she doesn’t like ”Baa, baa!” because there is a younger brother in the song. Then she sits on the floor and draws. She is asked by the psychologist to draw the family and she includes a drawing of her father.

P:                  Do you think about your daddy sometimes?

Eva:              Hmm.

P:                  What do you think about then?

Eva:              That I want to kiss him.

P:                  Do you think anything else about your daddy than that you want to kiss him?

Eva:              That I want to kiss him on the lips.

In other words, in response to the open questions where there is no expected answer, Eva answers spontaneously that she wants to kiss her daddy.

The psychologist continues to ask about beds and bedtime routines. Eva says she doesn’t like to sleep in pyjamas, but that she puts them and her dressing gown when she gets out of bed. To the question of who lives in the house, Eva lists everybody. The psychologist then asks if her father also has lived there. Eva nods, saying:

Eva:              Daddy used to live at X-hill, but then we fought so much that daddy had to leave mommy.

P:                  Did your daddy bawl you out too?

Eva:              Are we through?

Eva seems to identify with her mother, since she says ”we fought so much”. A bit later the psychologist asks if her father sometimes helped Eva go to bed and Eva answers that she wants to blow [bubbles]. The psychologist says she had meant to ask Eva some more questions, but lets her blow soap bubbles a while. Eva wants more time. She agrees to stop after a promise that she can blow more later after they’ve talked a bit (bribe). Eva creeps halfway under her bed.

Further on in the conversation the psychologist asks Eva where her knees and her bottom are and what she calls what girls have in the front. ”Front bottom,” is Eva’s answer.

P:                  Has anyone ever done anything with your ’front bottom’?

Eva:              Nope.

P:                  No-one has ever done anything with your front bottom?

Eva:              No.

Eva runs around and says she wants to blow some more after she’s answered yes to the question on whether she used to play doctor and has shown the doctor’s bag. The psychologist says that maybe they’ll talk some more some other time.

In this interview, exactly as in the ones with the incest expert from the police, Eva responds with clear negatives to questions suggesting that her father (or anyone) has harmed her in any way.

Lena was more talkative than Eva. She had her large dummy in her mouth and sat quietly on the floor. She didn’t jump around like Eva had.

P:                  Where does daddy live?

Lena:            He lives in his house.

P:                  Do you visit him there sometimes, you and Eva?

Lena:            Hmm.

P:                  What do you usually do then?

Lena:            He usually hits us. And then he hits up here on the head so you have to go to the doctor.

P:                  Hmm.

Lena is barely three years old at this point. As above where she talks about that her father hits [people] on the head so that you have to go to the doctor, she continues to talk disconnectedly about how he grab you on your thighs so you die and that if you are thrown down on the street you hurt yourself. The whole sequence leaves the impression of being things she’s heard one or more adults talk about that she’s then reconstrued in her own way. Neither of the girls have ever visited their father since he moved out of the family’s newly built house on March 5, 1992. The exception was a visit to their [paternal] grandmother towards the end of March 1992 where their father also was.

It is noteworthy that the psychologist asks about how things went when the girls visited their father as if she didn’t know that the girls aren’t allowed to see their father and hence cannot have visited him at the new address.

P:                  What does your daddy do with you then?

Lena:            Then we hop up on my daddy Per and ride on him and then we go like this and climb up on the bed.

P:                  OK, and where is your daddy then?

Lena:            Then is in the disgusting toilet up there. There is a bed there.

Also this sequence leaves the impression that Lena has overheard conversations about what her father has done or what the grownups around her think has happened, things she doesn’t really understand.

A bit later the psychologist asks:

P:                  But when you were in the disgusting toilet, what did you play then?

Lena:            Same as before.

P:                  What happened then?

Lena:            A ghost came at night and threw us. My daddy was a tiger. He dressed up like a ghost.

Lena says he had a lamp on his forehead and that he threw them to the lions. ’Tiger cage’ is something her mother had said the Eva is said to have talked about and which was at their father’s new job.

Lena:            He rattled for us and then we went up to fix dinner. We lay in our beds.

This was in the small house, according to Lena and then comments that one of the felt-tips is lilac.

P:                  You’re a clever girl, you really know your colours. How was it when you were in the sauna with your daddy?

Lena:            Did you know that a lion came in there?

Lena talks some more about ghosts, a long stairway, no door and no air, it was hot and there were gates everywhere. She say something about her father creeping over something and that her mother was there in the sauna. ”Which mother? Was it mommy Anne?” asks the psychologist and gets an affirmative response. Then Lena fold up the drawing she’s done of the family and says, ”I want to go out now.”

Comments

In her answers to the investigating child psychologist, Eva expressed the desire to kiss her father, that she thinks about him, and misses him. There is no indication from her, either verbally or in some other way, that she has some difficult experience relating to her father on her mind. On the other hand, she does seem to share responsibility for the present situation. She shows that she identifies with her mother when she says that ’we fought so much that daddy had to leave mommy’.

To two typical yes-no questions, Eva answers no both times. The psychologist repeats the question if someone has done something with her ’front bottom’ immediately after Eva has said no, enabling Eva to respond to the expectation inherent in the repetition that there is some other answer. Eva does not change her answer, saying no the second time too. What seems to be the most obvious interpretation is that Eva answers no because no one has done anything with her ’front bottom’.

Neither of the girls seem upset or afraid. Of the two, Lena is most willing to answer questions. What she does say indicates that she has heard what others have said about her father, since among the things she suggests is that ’daddy hits them when they visit him at his house’ – this though they have never visited him where he lives. The confusion in what Lena says also suggests that she is trying to relate what she has heard. Nor is it likely that she would remember anything from the sauna on X-hill or from a visit to a toilet at her father’s job, events that happened when she was only two years old.

In response to two questions about if she had been in the sauna with her father, her first answer was something about a brush and the second time she said that a lion came.

Statements by the girls on their mother’s tape

The statement by the investigating BUP psychologist includes reference to four tapes recorded by the mother:

  1. One recorded June 22-28, 1992.
  2. One recorded when the girls were going to bed on September 11, 1992, the same day as the psychologist had videotaped Eva and Lena. According to the mother Eva became restless. (This tape was not turned in until March 30, 1993, when the psychologist turned over her recordings.)
  3. and 4 Two tapes recorded later.

In a short interview with the mother at the same time as she turned over the two tapes, she said (according to the interviewer) that on several occasions the girls ”had made spontaneous statements about their father and what he had done to them”.

However, in referring to these tapes, the interviewer repeatedly says:

”Ann asks”, ”To a question from Ann”, ”After a question”, ”Ann repeats the question” and ”asks Ann”.

This does not suggest that the girls had made any spontaneous statements, but the reverse.

The interviewer has reported on the contents of three of the tapes (1, 3 and 4 above) though without quoting any statement sequences (that is both question and answer). I have done so as seen in the extract below. The italics are mine.

Ann:             OK … Now, you’ve told mommy about many times.  (Chit-chat and a rebuke to Lena.) Are you going to tell now what daddy has done (silent)?

Eva:              No. (some whining)

Ann:             Yes [you are]. You said he had done something nasty. What was it you said he’d done that was so nasty?

Eva:              I don’t know (sobbing).

Ann:             Daddies aren’t allowed to do nasty things to their children.

Eva:              I don’t know.

Ann:             Don’t you know what he’s done?

Eva               sighs.

Ann:             Well?

Eva:              No.

Ann:             Is it something fun or something bad or …? Mmmm, give mommy a hug. Are you that unhappy?

——

Ann:             Eva, come here! Come, little one! What did you just say to mommy? I didn’t really hear.

Eva:              That, that daddy … in daddy’s flat where I’ve been.

Ann:             OK. And what hap…? Where did you say that flat was?

Eva:              Hmmm.

Ann:             What has happened there then?

Eva:              Well, it was there he touched me on [my] willie like so …  so…he .. touched me here…so (sigh) there wasn’t anyone there, they, they were at home, they weren’t working.

Ann:             In other words you were with daddy by yourselves?

Eva:              Hmmm.

Ann:             Well. What did you say he did?

Eva:              I don’t know anything else.

Ann:             You don’t know anything else? Do you know where you were when he did that?

Eva:              No.

Ann:             Did he touch you with his willie? Where did he touch you with his willie then?

Eva:              Here.

Ann:             What’s it called? What’s that called?

Eva:              Front bottom (weakly)

Ann:             Front bottom. How did it feel, then?

Eva:              You can call it ass (happily).

Ann:             Who says that?

Eva:              Daddy.

Eva has never been in her father’s flat, as she says above. In this short extract we can see that the mother encourages Eva to tell (and does so throughout).

The mother corrects Eva when Eva says that her daddy has touched her on [her] willie, changing it to with [his] willie. The mother knows how it should be. But Eva doesn’t and she has a hard time learning it, something that shows up several times in the tapes recorded by the mother. One example is when Eva repeats several times that she has a willie and that daddy has touched her willie (see below). Eva tells happily that the ’front bottom’ can be called ’ass’. Thought the grown-ups have interpreted her so, there is nothing to suggest that Eva wants to talk about something nasty her daddy is supposed to have done in her ’front bottom’.

It was attorney who represented the mother in the custody case and was representative for the injured parties (Eva and Lena) in the criminal case who suggested to Ann that she should record her daughters. He reported in a telephone conversation with the author on December 8, 1993, that after Ann had reported to him what the girls said about their father, he had said it would be good to have documentation of this and that Ann should let the tape recorder run.

However, the tapes the mother recorded with her daughters do not show that the girls make any spontaneous statements like the mother reported to the attorney, the police, the investigating BUP psychologist, her own BUP physician and to me.

When Eva says that she is sad because she wants to hug her daddy – something that doesn’t tally with the suggestion that he should have exposed her to some sort of sexual abuse and that this had made her afraid of him – Ann responds by promising Eva that she will do that another day, again holding out a prospect she does not fulfil.

Ann motivates her refusal to let the girls have contact with their father (in the presence of a witness), his mother or his sister by saying that the girls are afraid of Per, that they do not want to see him and that they become upset (November 25, 1993). This is contradicted by what she herself has recorded on the tapes she turned over to the police. On two of the tapes Ann tells the girls that they can’t see their father because his flat isn’t fully painted yet and he hasn’t fetched any furniture for it.

Ann:             Do you want to be with daddy?

Lena:            Yes, the whole night.

 

Asked if she wants to live with her daddy, Eva says no. The girls’ voices sound happy. Ann says that perhaps they will be allowed to sleep over at their daddy’s place. Does she mean that they will be allowed to live there or sleep over at their father’s house? Or is she just saying it to get the answers she is expecting? The reason for my question-marks is Ann’s consistent actions to prevent the girls from seeing Per. Lena say she wants to sleep over there and Eva says she thinks that her mother should also meet Per. The girls ask about their daddy’s job and Ann says it takes a long time to paint.

Ann repeats her questions many times, showing what she expects and pleads for the ’right’ answers. One time Eva even asks her mother if she should ”say it?” (tape 4). With happy voices the girls respond as encouraged that their father has touched their ’front bottoms’. And in spite of their mother’s follow-up questions and attempts to force some response with concrete content, she doesn’t succeed.

In her report, the investigating BUP psychologist concludes that:

”The mother’s reactions during the taped conversations leave an impression of being calm and neutral.”

However, the mother’s manipulative questions about the children´s  father, her pleading and nagging do not leave an impression of calmness and neutrality. The investigating BUP psychologist drew the following conclusion in a supplementary statement on October 31, 1993 (p. 8):

”Following a thorough analysis of the audio and video tapes and of the protocols and notes related to them, taken together with [my] own interviews, my investigation has not turned up any evidence to suggest that the mother has submitted the children to systematic pressure or unconscious suggestion in order to get them to describe abuse they haven’t been subjected to. For this reason there is no support for Hypothesis #1.”

The transcription of the complete statement sequences in the tapes the mother has recorded with her daughters shows clearly that she has influenced them through her expectations, as well as by her informative and repetitive allegations and questions about what their father has done.

However, it is primarily through her consistent behaviour in not letting the girls meet their father, his mother or his sister that the mother has influenced and continues to influence her children. Children learn from what the adults do, much more than from what they say.

The mother’s notes about her daughters’ statements

The girls’ mother has also given the police notes about what she claims the girls have said spontaneously. The following note is from the day of the first police interview with Eva and Lena, that is on May 22, 1992 (transcript):

”They’re looking at bookmarks. Look mother, here is a cat. It’s like the one I got from daddy when I was nice to him. ’When were you nice to him?’ I asked. When I and Lena had played tiger lion and Elephant (zebra) with daddy. We touched his willie and daddy held his balls. He said we were nice to him then and we got the bookmarks. I got a kitten. Lena a puppy and daddy a lion zebra.”

The interview with the girls transpired on the same morning these notes were written down. What is likely is that the mother had talked to the police after his interview with the girls and he had reported his interpretation, namely that the girls had been given the bookmarks because they had been ’nice’ to their father. The mother thinks so too, as shown by the notes.

The last notation has just as little relation to any sexual abuse as any of the other:

”We were staying over at grandmother and grandfather. Eva wakes up and I get into bed with her and cuddle a while. She said ’I had a dream, mommy.’ I asked her ’What did you dream, precious?’

– About Lena, Eva , daddy and a nasty old man* is her answer.”

A four-year old with Eva’s excellent verbal abilities do not normally talk of themselves in the third person in the way Ann has quoted her here. It ought to have been natural for Eva to say ’me’ in the sentence above. The only note from the girls’ mother that has any connection to the accusation is the one from May 12, 1992, though it is very vague. According to what she has reported, Ann wrote the following at the time:

”Lena says that daddy doesn’t have anywhere to live. I answer that he’ll soon have his own flat and that they can meet once he’s moved in. Eva says that I (mommy) can come along and sleep there when it gets dark and that I can go home with them when it gets light. I don’t want to be there by myself. I’d feel sorry for you. And daddy just pokes my eyes and opens them like this (she shows). And then he hits me in the head – it hurts (says Eva) and sits on me – and he touches me too. – Here! And then she touches her self between her legs and tickles her genitals. She looks at me and says: then daddy touches my ear and my stomach.”

It is possible that, as she has done before, Eva is expressing her sense of responsibility for her mother by saying it would be hard on the mother if she [Eva] is at her father’s. She knows that her mother doesn’t want her to stay at her father’s. Why then does her mother say that she can? And the list of what Ann says that Eva is supposed to have said leaves a confused impression and cannot be seen as proof of anything.

It is important to remember that all of these notes about so-called spontaneous statements have been written after Ann had filed her complaint against Per and around the same time as the police interviews with the girls.

If it had indeed been as Ann has claimed in conversations with the investigating BUP psychologist and this author that Eva has told a lot about what her father has done, including where, when and how, why hasn’t Ann written these statements down? It ought have been much more vital than what she has written down and turned over since those notes do not contain anything about what their father is alleged to have done, nor where, when or how.

Interview with Eva

I came to lovely X-löv one snowy November day in 1993. It was the first time Eva and Lena had seen snow since the winters in their lives had so far been snow-less. After we had talked, their mother and I, we took a walk to the day-care centre to fetch the girls and Kalle. Because Lena was already outside playing when we came, Lena and I had time to build a snow lantern while Ann went after Eva and Kalle. Eva had made a fine Advent candleholder from a piece of firewood and I was entrusted with carrying it home while Eva pulled her brother on a sled.

Once we were back at their house, Eva and I went right to her room and closed the door. There was a large pile of stuffed animals on the bed. After having shown me the Pippi wig, the ’Little Man’ and ’Mr. Nilsson’, Eva dove into the pile and brought out two animals to show me. One was a dog with the embroidered message ”To Lena from Daddy” and the other a penguin labelled ”To Eva from Daddy”. After telling me about some rabbits she had had, she told me that the dog’s name was Loffe and that the penguin she’d gotten from her daddy was called Ping. Following my statement that I thought she could sing and my question as to what she liked, Eva sang the entire, long text to the Swedish children’s song ”Åsa, Gåsa, Klinga” in a high, clear voice, after which we sang ”Ekorrn satt i granen” together.

I asked ”if you were going to kela with Ping, what would you do?” Eva then hugged the penguin from her father and in response to yet another question about what she does when she kelar, she hugged Ping again.

It is entirely foreign to Eva that kela should have a sexual connotation.

Eva then took out a board, on which she put together letters for names and asked if I could read. I read IENÄ and then in a column Mommy, Eva, Kalle and Lasse. ”Lasse is one who throws us into the air,” said Eva. Then she explained that the first IENÄ was supposed to be Lena, but there weren’t enough letters.

–                    Why wasn’t daddy on the list?

Eva:              He’s stupid (using another, seemingly angry intonation). I don’t want him on that board. And then you can’t really write any more and daddy is a long name and it doesn’t work so good for it’s even longer.

–                    I see. You don’t have room.

Eva:              No.

–                    What do you remember about your daddy?

(No answer.)

–                    When did you see your daddy? Was it a long time ago?

Eva:              No…can you open?

–                    Do you remember what he looks like?

Eva:              No, I don’t even remember him, I haven’t met him for a long time and I don’t want to (using an angry, somewhat childish intonation).

–                    Don’t you miss him?

Eva:              No, he’s nasty (still with an angry intonation).

–                    You say nasty all the time. When did you begin to think he was nasty?

(Rustling with Eva’s experiment – melted snow in a bag. No answer.)

–                    Was it a long time ago?

Eva:              Yes. …Now I’m going to …

–                    You’ll have to be careful now for melted snow is really water and can suddenly pour out?

Eva :             Yes.

–                    Your daddy is nasty. Is your mommy nice or is she nasty too?

Eva:              She’s nice. She’s the one who’s called Ann.

–                    Is your mommy always nice?

(No answer to the question.)

Eva:              I’m going to play with this drop now. (Eva has several drops from the melted snow on a white paper which later draw on with a blue pen, pretending it’s a creek.)

–                    Is she always nice?

Eva:              Yes, sometimes she yells.

–                    Don’t you think all daddies and mommies do that now and then?

(No answer.)

After talking about everything under the sun, I ask Eva if she wants to meet her daddy and see what he looks like. She doesn’t answer. I suggest that he might look like Ping, the penguin Eva got from her father, but Eva says she thinks he looks more like Loffe, the dog doll Lena got from her father.

–                    Did you used to play with your daddy?

Eva:              I don’t know (while she’s busy drawing on the paper where drops have run out).

Eva remembers that she’s forgotten something at the day-care centre, I think it is a princess she was supposed to give to Lena. We talk about it awhile and then:

–                    Say Eva, how do you think it’s going to be here later, will it be that you and your mommy and Kalle and Lena live here alone the whole time?

Eva:              That’s how it will be. And Lasse will never come back and we’re not to say, not to say to Kalle that Lasse isn’t coming back, for then he says: Daddy. Then he gets upset.

–                    Who gets upset?

Eva:              Kalle.

–                    If you say what?

Eva:              That Lasse isn’t coming back.

–                    Is Lasse something like your mommy’s friend?

Eva:              Mm.

–                    Do you like Lasse too?

Eva:              Mm.

–                    Is Lasse like a pretend daddy?

Eva:              Mm. He’s a real daddy, not a pretend. A real.

–                    What do you mean a real daddy?

Eva:              Lasse.

–                    But what, what is a real daddy?

Eva takes out something and I ask if it’s from Lasse. Eva says they bought it.

–                    Do you remember there was a man here?

Eva:              No.

In spite of several questions, Eva says that she doesn’t remember anything from the investigator’s visit. I ask if he asked about her ’front bottom’.

–                    Has someone done something to your ’front bottom’?

Eva:              Mm, daddy (while drawing).

–                    Who’s said that?

Eva:              Lena has said it, mommy and Kalle. Here he is (referring to a pirate flag in the painting book where she is filling in colours).

–                    A pirate flag, yes.

Eva:              There he is. Do you know what I’m going to paint?

–                    Eva, don’t you think your daddy has missed you?

Eva:              Yes, he wants to have us – but I don’t want to.

–                    What do you mean, have you?

Eva:              He wants to have us at his place!

–                    He didn’t say that, but he did say that he’d really like to see you and Lena.

Eva:              But he is nasty  (with the angry, childish intonation). I don’t want to go to him.

–                    When did you begin thinking that he was nasty?

Eva:              Don’t know.

–                    Was it a long time ago?

Eva:              Mm.

–                    Was it when you had moved to this house?

Eva:              Mm, and then mommy and daddy argued and daddy squeezed mommy in the car door. They argued and we woke up when they were fighting. And I, I did so to mommy and daddy (Eva holds out her arms to show how she had gone between them) so they wouldn’t argue and fight any more. But daddy only went out with mommy and squeezed her in the car door – I thought daddy was nasty, [but] I couldn’t do anything about it, ’cause I was too small then. I couldn’t even push him. ’Cause I was too small.

–                    Has mommy told you that he did that?

Eva:              Mm. Only that he’d pushed her an’ squeezed her in the car door.

–                    Has she told you about other nasty things daddy’s done?

Eva:              Yes. When is it done?

–                    We can stop now if you want to.

Eva asks if I’m going to drive home. I tell her I’m going to take the train and then Eva relates a lot of details about how fun it was on the train when they’d taken it say hello to Lasse, that they’d slept, eaten, washed themselves and gone to the bathroom.

–                    Are you afraid of something, Eva?

Eva:              Mm, but I don’t want to talk any more.

–                    I just wanted to ask you if you’re afraid of someone?

Eva:              No.

–                    Are afraid of the brownie?

Eva:              No.

–                    Are afraid of monsters?

Eva:              No. For murderers. They can fight. They can throw us into the wall.

–                    Do you think daddy should be allowed to see you and Lena if he misses you?

Eva:              No (in a low voice). Even though he wants to (the angry voice) and says that we miss him. But then we don’t want to ’cause we know we don’t miss him when he says it. ’Cause mammy has told us that he says (somewhat sad).

–                    That he says what?

Eva:              That he says…

–                    That he misses you?

Eva:              Mm. Mommy has said that if not …if he misses us, even though we don’t want to. He, he … I, we don’t want him to miss us. We don’t miss him and he still says that we miss him, but we don’t. He’s nasty … has said it to everyone.

–                    Has your mommy said that daddy has said that he misses, that you miss him?

Eva:              No, mommy has said that daddy misses us, even though we don’t want to (angrily).

–                    What don’t you want to?

Eva               We don’t want to do, we don’t want to do anything with daddy. And you, if comes here, then I’ll push him down from the stairs when he opens the door. Then I’ll stand behind the door and then when he, when I feel that he opens, then I’ll run out and push him away. And to mommy and to Kalle and to Lena I’ll say that they should hide. Then I’ll tell them to come out after I’ve pushed daddy out and he’s standing there ’cause he thinks we’re bears and (inaudible about pushing) and then all that’s needed is to lock the door. We’ve seen one? Outside.

Judging by what Eva relates, she thought she should have defended her mother earlier when her father – according to what Eva has understood her mother to have said – has squeezed her mother in the car door, but then Eva was too small. Now the large Eva is going to defend her mother, as well as her siblings against a ’nasty daddy’. It seems that Eva identifies with her mother and takes a learned or acquired distance from her father. That it is learned is clear since it is stereotypic and refers to what ’mommy said’.

It is through her statements, such as that it is Lena, Kalle and her mother who have said that her father has done something nasty to her ’front bottom’, that it becomes clear that she herself has not been part of something like that. Eva seems to have taken on a large sense of responsibility, also obvious in her worries over the fact that Kalle will be sorry when Lasse also has disappeared as ’daddy’. It is possible that what the mother and maternal grandfather mention as self-destructiveness is derived from the fact that Eva can’t manage the responsibility she has laid on herself.

–                    Do you miss your grandmother?

Eva:              Mm. She’s called grandma G and one is grandma S. She also dumb ’cause she believes in daddy (the angry voice).

–                    Is it … who’s said that?

Eva:              Mommy (softly).

–                    Is there anyone else who’s dumb?

Eva:              No.

–                    Is T dumb too?  (T is their father’s sister)

Eva:              No, yes.

–                    Why is she dumb?

Eva:              ’Cause she (hard to hear)

–                    So everyone who believes in daddy is dumb?

Eva:              Mm. Lots of people believe in daddy, almost the whole country (angry, childish voice).

–                    Oh, and who’s said that?

Eva:              Daddy’s been around the whole country and said we miss him even though we don’t. And then everyone in the city believe him and they’re dumb (angry, childish voice). But not our friends, of course. But daddy knows, he knows the way here. He came once when we were going to drive to day-care. And mommy had to get out, daddy drove away and then we and daddy followed.

–                    Where did you drive then?

Eva:              To day-care.

–                    Mm.

Eva:              Daddy drove home ’cause he was afraid of us. Didn’t like us

–                    What? Who didn’t he like?

Eva:              Us.

–                    But he likes you a lot.

Eva:              No, not now.

–                    Yes. I met your daddy today and misses you a lot. I saw him this morning and he’s very sad that he’s not allowed to see you.

Eva:              I don’t care a hoot (angry voice) ’cause I don’t like him (sad voice).

Soon after that we finished our talk, but before I turned off the tape recorder, we sang a Swedish nursery rhyme together.

Through her spontaneous statement that daddy doesn’t like us and her reflections about whether he dislikes them now, Eva has shown that she does like him even though she expresses the opposite. But then she has to do that since she identifies with her mother. Eva’s internal conflict can be expected to be large if what she has shown and continues to show is true – she misses her father at the same time as she lives with her mother, identifies with her and is completely dependent on her, while her mother has rejected her father so clearly.

Interview with Lena

A short time after when Lena and I sat in her room (where both girls sleep), Lena wanted to sing the same nursery song Eva and I recorded. She’d heard it from the kitchen where she, Kalle and their mother sat eating when Eva and I came out from Eva’s room. In spite of the fact that my charge did not include her, I’ve included Lena’s statements below. The reason is that what she says illustrates the strong influence which it seems clear that both girls have been exposed to during the entire time their father has been absent.

–                    Lena , you’re 4 years old now. When you were 2 your daddy lived in this house. Do you remember your daddy?

Lena:            He’s nasty now.

–                    Is he nasty now? Why is he nasty?

Lena:            He’s moved.

–                    Is that why he’s nasty?

Lena:            He’s touched our ’front bottoms’.

–                    Who’s said that?

Lena:            Daddy’s done it.

–                    Who’s said  he’s done it?

Lena:            Grandma S believes in daddy, but we don’t. Grandma S believes, thinks daddy is nice, but he’s not nice, he’s nasty.

–                    Who’s said he’s nasty?

Lena:            He’s really, truly nasty.

–                    Why is he that?

Lena:            ’Cause he is. No one has said it and I have aces of spades (?)

–                    When did you think he was nasty? Do you remember something nasty he’s done?

Lena:            Yes.

–                    What nasty thing’s he done then?

Lena:            I can’t talk about it (childish voice).

–                    Has he played rough with you?

Lena:            No. He’s been nasty to me.

–                    What’s he done when he’s nasty?

Lena:            I don’t know.

–                    Do you remember something?

Lena:            Nope (happily).

–                    Do you remember anything good he’s done?

Lena:            Nope.

–                    Do you remember anything you’ve done with your daddy?

Lena:            Nope.

–                    Have you played with him?

Lena:            Nope….The job. I’ve been at daddy’s job.

–                    How was it there then?

Lena:            On the toilet (Lena almost screams out this with great emphasis).

–                    And peed?

Lena:            Nope.

–                    What did you do then?

Lena:            Played.

–                    Have you played on the toilet? Should you do that?

Lena:            Mm. Daddy Per thought so. And do you know what I was then?

–                    No.

Lena:            I was the tiger and Eva was a lion and daddy he was really a zebra (happily).

–                    On the toilet?

Lena:            Mm.

–                    I think that was really odd.

Lena:            ’Cause I didn’t really want to be on the toilet.

–                    No. I talked to your daddy Per this morning and he doesn’t remember that he played tiger or lion with you. He said he played ’the bear is sleeping’.

Lena:            No he didn’t. He’s lying.

–                    He’s lying?

Lena:            He’s always lying. He doesn’t say … he says that he hasn’t touched our ’front bottoms’, but he has. He’s lying. I don’t lie.

–                    Do you remember that he’s touched your bottom?

Lena:            Front bottom.

–                    In the front bottom.

Lena:            Yes, I remember that.

–                    You seem to be rather happy, so maybe it tickled just a little bit too. Did it?

Lena:            Yes, but just a little.

–                    Did it tickle?

Lena:            A little.

–                    When did he do this?

Lena:            It was in the evening (using the same loud-voiced intonation as for ’the toilet’ above).

–                    In the evening when you’d gone to bed?

Lena:            Nope.

–                    What was it then?

Lena:            In the evening when we were up was going to bed.

–                    And you were supposed to be going to bed?

Lena:            And we didn’t either, but daddy, he had really hit a painting so it broke, our daddy. Then he got (hard to hear. Sounds like grip with his teeth or hands?)

–                    He got a grip with his teeth?

Lena             When he broke a picture at grandma S’s.

–                    Did he break it because he got angry or why did he do it?

Lena:            ’Cause he did.

We can see how Lena repeats things she’s learned. Without motivation she states from the beginning that he is nasty and that he has touched their ’front bottoms’, their genitals, in other words. She was only two when she last saw her father. At that time she was too small to be able relate anything she herself can remember having experienced with her father. Still she repeats that her father had touched their genitals, that he is nasty and that he lies, plus the claim that he played lions and tigers with them. The history about the painting is something Eva once said to the investigating BUP psychologist and which also seems to lack a basis in reality. Whatever the truth of the matter is, it has nothing to do with anything their father might have done to one of the girls.

The statements in the case make it probable that both Lena and Eva has repeatedly heard their mother, as well as her mother and stepfather, say that their father is nasty and why. The girls have also learned to divide the world in nasty and nice. Like Eva, Lena expresses spontaneously that she misses her father, though she shadows it with the learned statement that he is nasty. Neither of the girls express any fear of their father. I asked Lena:

–                    Don’t you think it would be fun to see him?

Lena:            No, he’s nasty now… I’ll never see him again.

–                    Why not?

Lena:            He’s nasty. I want to see him. I want to have a such nicer daddy who has the same hair and same clothes.

–                    Like daddy Per?

Lena:            Yes.  And just as n?.

–                    But what if he’s nice?

Lena:            Daddy?

–                    Yes.

Lena:            Do you believe daddy?

–                    I don’t know what you mean with believe.

Lena:            Do you believe my daddy?

–                    In what way?

Lena:            Do you believe my daddy?

–                    That he’s nice?

Lena:            Mm.

–                    I think he’s like most people – nasty sometimes and nice other times.

Lena:            He’s nasty.

–                    Is your daddy always nasty?

Lena nods.

–                    Who’s said that?

Lena:            No-one.

–                    Why do you say it?

Lena:            ’Cause I do.

–                    Why do you say it?

Lena:            ’Cause I do.

–                    And you will never see him again?

Lena:            Nope.

We talk a bit more about how sad it is for her daddy, since he can’t see them even though he misses them and about the fact that Lena can’t remember how her daddy looks and that she doesn’t have a picture of him.

To my question if her maternal grandmother is nice, Lena says that she is.

–                    Does she say your daddy is nasty?

Lena:            Nope.

–                    Does she say he is nice?

Lena:            Nope, she says he’s nasty.

–                    Who else says your daddy is nasty?

Lena:            The others think daddy is nasty too (almost screams).

–                    Which others?

Lena:            My pals.

–                    Your pals at day-care?

Lena:            Yes and the others who live next door.

–                    Is it true that everyone who lives here thinks he’s nasty?

Lena  nods.

–                    Does I (step-grandfather) that your daddy is nasty too?

Lena:            Yes.

–                    Is there anybody who thinks your daddy is nice?

Lena:            Actually grandma S does (paternal grandmother)..

–                    Do you think grandma S is nice?

Lena:            Nope.

After this Lena answers affirmatively that grandmother S is nasty because she thinks that daddy Per is nice. She also says that her mother and (maternal ) grandmother have said repeatedly that their daddy is not allowed to see them because he has touched their genitals.

Unfortunately the tape ends suddenly just as Lena is explaining that her daddy moved because ”we thought he was nasty”.

It becomes obvious that Eva and Lena have been taught that their daddy is nasty and why. They have no experiences of their own of when he was or is nasty that they can relate. They have also learned, perhaps Lena even more than Eva, which other persons are nasty – namely anyone who believes their daddy.

Comments

Have either Eva or Lena said or expressed in any other context anything that can be interpreted as their having been sexually abused by their father?

The police inquiry began by interviewing the girl’s mother Ann on the same day she lodged her complaint against Per, that is on April 24, 1992. Using Ann’s statement as base, Eva and Lena were interviewed together, but not until a month later. As we have seen, that even though an analysis of the interviews show that the girls say nothing to support Ann’s information about incestuous abuse, they have been interpreted as saying the opposite.

The police did not investigate Ann’s information about the girls’ illnesses and symptoms, her negative statements about Per or that the girls were supposedly afraid of their father.

After having interviewed Ann on April 24, 1992, the policeman used Ann’s information that the girls were speechless, as if paralysed when they had been alone with their father. I quote from the protocol of the preliminary investigation:

”Ann remembers different situations when Per has been alone with the girls. When Ann came in to the girls in their room they had been lying completely still and stared speechlessly at the ceiling. This was after they had been alone with their father. When Ann came in it seemed as if the girls paralysis had been broken.”

This is a suggestive description. The policeman describes Eva as ”paralysed” on another occasion as well. This was when Ann’s stepfather tells about the time when Per had asked him to come over and baby-sit for Lena so that he could drive to his job and fetch his contact lenses he’d left there.

”As the stepfather had perceived it, Lena was lying in her room as if paralysed, staring at the ceiling. The stepfather thought Per’s clothing was odd (bathrobe) since he was going to fetch his contact lenses. When the stepfather came in to Lena she was very scared. She said there were ghosts and that nasty men were going to take her away.”

It was first after a suggestion from the father’s attorney that the child-minder was interviewed. She had had daily contact with the children during the time for the alleged abuse.

Interview with the child-minder

I met with Eva’s and Lena’s child-minder in her home. XX had been a child-minder for 25 years. Eva and Lena Andersson had first come to her on January 28, 1991, and stopped coming on May 31, 1992. Lena was in diapers when she came, but XX couldn’t remember if Eva had them. She couldn’t remember that either of the girls’ bottoms had ever been swollen or red. The only thing she remembered was that Lena had bled from her anus several times when she had been constipated. She talked with Ann about it and Ann had said it had happened earlier and she would give Lena something to relieve Lena.

The child-minder said she found out about the allegations against Per when she told her that she had kicked Per out and lodged a complaint against him for incest. Ann asked her to make sure Per didn’t see the children, but the child-minder didn’t think she could do that since there were no papers preventing it.

–                    I do not  understand anything. When you haven’t seen or heard anything earlier,                       I thought: She’s making it up.

 The child-minder said that Ann talked to her a number of times and that Ann even talked to her neighbours about her incest suspicions and about how the children were scared of Per. The child-minder repeated that she found it hard to believe.

When I ask her what she thinks can be the basis for Ann’s accusation, she relates that Ann and Per bought the house on X-hill from her daughter and that Ann had then contacted an attorney to get damages for something she thought was wrong in the cellar. She didn’t get it and the child-minder thinks it possible that this can also be an attempt to get money. Indeed, she has heard Ann talking about how she can get 100 000 kronor per child in damages. This was when the girls’ cousin who also was at XX’s day-care centre had a sibling nine months ago. They were at the house of the cousin’s parents (Ann’s brother) and at that time Ann had talked about how difficult it was that the whole thing took such time and she hoped that the trial would be schedules soon and that the police had told her that the damages could run as high as 100 000 kronor per child.

XX said the girls were cuddly and liked to get up on one’s lap. They were like all other kids. They never said or did anything that suggested that they had been part of something odd or that they were afraid of anyone.

According to the attendance list both girls were at the centre until they left at the end of May in order to begin at kindergarten after the holidays. It was possible that she could have missed noting one or two days when the girls were at home. According to the child-minder, the girls showed no fear nor said anything that suggested that they were afraid of their father or that he should come there. Quite the reverse – they were very happy when he came and said hello in May after Ann had lodged her complaint. Once when he left, Lena was so unhappy XX had to console her.

 Investigation by the Social Services

The social investigation according to §50 of the Swedish Social Services Act was completed on December 22, 1993. The law reads as follows:

”The Social Services Committee shall initiate an investigation without delay into what has come to the committee’s knowledge either through report or in some other fashion and which can require that the committee take measures.”

The approved procedures for the municipality in question state that after a report has been received the social committee ought to initiate an investigation. In this case the investigation seems to have been initiated on June 9, 1992, or about one and a half months after the complaint to the police.

It also states in the procedures that ”the investigation by the social committee ought not take longer than three months”. This investigation took one and a half years.

As we have seen, the police accepted Ann’s picture of the children’s situation as being correct. The same is true of the social investigation. The social welfare officer allow Ann to define the problem and to control the events:

”The investigator asks Ann how she would feel about having BUP observe Per and the girls together. Ann answers that Eva is afraid to meet Per. Eva is afraid at the very thought of having to meet him. Eva still has fits and thinks it difficult to have to talk about her daddy. In addition Ann thinks that Per would playact during an observation session at BUP to make sure that all his characteristics would not become visible”. (§50 investigation report p. 7)

This means an acceptance of manipulation by one of the parents, the mother. The social welfare officer made no attempt to find out if Eva was afraid to meet Per, nor did they ask Per what he thought was best.

According to the investigation, Ann does not report anything concrete that would suggest that the girls have been sexually abused, but she does paint a picture that suggests they have talked a lot about abuses by their father and stresses how difficult it has been for her. For example this quote from p. 6:

”Ann has thought it extremely hard that she was not allowed to support the children’s statements about their father during the police investigation. Ann has had a conversation herself with the chief medical officer at BUP. There she has received support for the difficult feelings that have developed for her when she wasn’t allowed to support the children in what they had said about their father.”

The recordings of conversations with her daughters made by the mother and turned in to the police show that during the investigation it was she who repeatedly tried to get them to say something bad about their father. She also supported them very strongly when she had managed to get them to describe something bad their father had done.

In the investigation report it states that the initial contacts were made at the end of April  and the beginning of May 1992, but the first entry into the journal of the social services department is dated June 9, 1992. It says (author’s italics)

”Interview with Ann Andersson. Eva has told Ann that their father plays with his balls and that after that Eva and Lena touched his penis and that after that he urinated on Eva’s stomach. When Eva tells this, which she started to tell after the event on the changing table, she sometimes becomes hysterical, but has then continued to play as usual and does not want to talk about it.”

This quote contains a contiguous abuse sequence, which the mother or the social welfare officer or both together must have constructed since the alleged event has never been described in this way by either the mother or Eva when it should have been fresh. The fact that Ann, according to the quote, has reported a contiguous abuse statement as if it were Eva’s can have had great import for the development of the case, since it would have made Ann’s accusation of incest credible to those around her, primarily to the social services investigators and the consultatory group.

The entries by the social welfare officer are consistently based on the picture that the mother, Ann, paints. On the whole the text in the 17 pages of journal entries are quoted almost word for word in the report finished December 22, 1993. There are some deviations, however, such as those below:

Journal Investigating report
”We ask if he used to leave home after a fight. Per answered that this has happened once and that he went to a cousin in Lund.” ”He also reported that he has left the house and sometimes stayed away overnight.”
”The investigator asks Per if he uses alcohol together with pills. Per has answered the physician that he has taken a pill at some time, but no more.” ”Per told the physician that he’s taken a drink with pills at some point. He didn’t get an ’odd’ feeling from this.”

The deviations between the journal and the report follow a pattern in that they are all to Per’s disadvantage in the report. Since the whole documentation (both the journal and the report) are based on an acceptance of Ann’s picture of the family relationships, a highly negative picture with many exaggerated and/or false statements about Per, the deviations serve to reinforce the already massively negative picture of Per.

According to the social service investigators, Per said that he always felt like an outsider in the parenthood situation. According to the journal entries Per has said it ’was wrong from the start’ since Ann became pregnant before they knew each other. He has also said that he feels like an outsider in his own home because of Ann’s ties to her mother (see quote from the journal below):

”Because of this he felt that he didn’t have a home of his own, but felt that he lived with his mother-in-law, plus Ann and the children.”

An entry in the journal kept by the social services department states that the daycare centre staff say that:

”Ann probably talks too much with the children on a level they are not ready for.”

And that (after a girl had been murdered):

”Mommy told that a boy tried to hug the girl, but that the girl didn’t want to hug. Then he killed her.”

In spite of this, the social welfare officers draw the unambiguous conclusion in their report to the mother’s favour:

”Ann has had an ability to see the needs of the children based on their age and their capacity.”

The journal entries make it clear that they have not investigated this in any other way than that they have heard Ann say that this is so. In other words, they reinforce Ann and Ann’s picture of reality, while failing to take into consideration information that speak against it. At the same time as they have disregarded what the daycare centre personnel have said that Ann probably speaks with her children on a level they are not ready for, they have also ignored what Per has said about Ann’s hot temper, her dependence on her mother and that Ann has hit the children several times and then regretted it afterwards.

As has been pointed out earlier, all entries are written based on Ann’s picture of Per as being seriously psychologically ill and a perpetrator of incest. The position becomes even more tangible in several parts of the journal, such as when the social welfare officers take the to them natural position that Per and his daughters must not meet. Here is an extract from October 19, 1992:

”The district attorney thinks that there is no great risk that a crime should occur under current conditions. (For us, this means that Per either agrees not to see the girls or we will have to take them into compulsory care according to LVU.k.LVU;.[3])”

If the district attorney has determined that it is unlikely that a crime will occur, it seems illogical and unmotivated for the social welfare officers to prevent the girls’ father from seeing his daughters, going so far as to suggest compulsory care.

There is only one interview reported in the journals with someone who knows anything about how the mother and the father have functioned with their children at the time of the alleged abuse. This is the child-minder. The entry reads:

”The children seemed to be feeling fine and the child-minder couldn’t see any change in how they felt. The relationship to both parents is good and normal. However, it was almost always Ann who picked up and left the girls at the centre.

After the divorce Per visited several times at the centre when the children were there. The children were very happy then and ran into his arms.”

The same text occurs in the main body of the report, but in the conclusions the social welfare workers have turned it against Per in a way that seems completely unjustified:

”After the divorce Per visited the child-minder several times when the children were there. Before the divorce he had seldom picked up or left the children.”

Per’s only possibility for seeing the children after the separation was by visiting them at the child-minder. He could neither pick them up nor leave them there since he didn’t live with them and Ann didn’t allow him to meet them. He came over to the centre on his lunch break. Before the divorce he had worked outside the home, but not Ann, which is probably why it was natural for her to drop them off and pick them up at the child-minder.

Sometimes Ann’s consistent manipulations are more apparent. One example is her information to the social welfare officers on a home visit March 23, 1993. Ann is quoted as having said the following at that time, probably in an attempt at getting the indictment to cover Lena as well (author’s italics):

”Lena has told Ann that her daddy said it’s dangerous to poo-poo, that ’a ghost comes when you poo-poo’. Lena has also said to Ann that if her daddy were to meet Eva now, he would be bad to her.

     Ann has not succeeded in getting these statements on tape.

Ann took the girls to a check-up on order from the district attorney. The physician said to her that the girls had broken blood vessels on their labia suggesting physical violence. Ann remembers that when she and the children lived at X-hill together with Per, he said once ’I’m not a good father. It’s not good for you to have me here’. Ann thinks now that maybe he was trying to tell her what he had done to the girls. Ann repeats the statement that when Per is in one of his manic periods, he is capable of anything. Nothing is impossible for him. Regarding Per’s illness, Ann says that Per’s mother had called her several times while she was still living with him and stated that Per had to get medical help.”

The social welfare officers repeat this information uncritically and in spite of the fact that they are clearly absurd. In this way they reinforce the mothers unreal pictures and actions to the detriment of the children. Examples of such absurdities include:

ß    There cannot exist any remnants of physical violence that the father is alleged to have inflicted on the children one year earlier when he last saw his children (March 1992). If there should be any traces of physical violence on the children in 1993, that violence must have been perpetrated by someone in their vicinity at the time, i.e. the mother, her parents or someone else.

ß    Lena was two years old when she last saw her father. More than a year later her mother claims that Lena repeats what her father is supposed to have said – from a time when Lena was so small she could neither talk nor remember.

The investigation by the Psychiatric Clinic for Children and Youth (BUP)

Ann’s information at the initial visit to BUP on April 15, 1992, did not give the chief physician reason to order a physical examination of the children nor to ask for a psychological investigation of the children’s relationship to their parents nor to call the father – or the mother – to investigative interviews.

The procedures worked out for X-city state that:

”Children who are suspected of having been subjected to sexual abuse should always be examined by a physician.”

In this case the girls were not examined until seven months after the mother’s complaint.

It took almost as long for the BUP psychologist to interview the girls to gain support for a statement to the social services department in spite of the fact that the approved procedures state that it is important that the social welfare committee refer the case to BUP early on. In this case it would take six months for that referral to be written. Then the social welfare officers wrote:

”We need to know what the relationships to the parents are and how the children feel mentally.”

The BUP answer dated December 11, 1992, comprised one and one half pages. The relationships to the children had not been investigated. Much of the text covered how mother Ann had diagnosed Eva’s and Lena’s mental condition:

”The mother reports in a telephone conversation on July 31, 1992, that it is mainly Eva who displays psychological symptoms, including emotional outbursts and a self-destructivity that sometimes expresses itself in that she bites herself. The mother has seen such symptoms again even later during the autumn 1992. The mother reports that Lena exhibits signs of instability, but her aggressiveness goes out over others. /…/

(According to the entries, it was the counsellor at BUP who received the mothers call. The counsellor is also a permanent member of the consultatory group.)

The following was said about the father:

”Since there is a ban on the right of access from the family rights group we have had no contact with the biological father.”

 Those at the social services department who are supposed to help families (family rights group) cannot issue a ban on the right of access. There was no ban from the social welfare committee, although the office of the district attorney had issued an injunction against visiting, in force from July 13 to October 13, 1992. Up until July 13 and after October 13 it would have been possible for the BUP personnel to have contact with the father and to meet him together with the children.

Serious incest literature recommends against taking an immediate position in the case, to take good time for a thorough investigation, including meeting all family members involved individually. See for example Jean Goodwin (p. 25) who reported that she had worked with more than 300 incest victims and their families before publishing her book Sexual Abuse. Incest Victims and Their Families.

The expert investigation by the BUP psychologist

The BUP psychologist was appointed by the District Court on August 18, 1992. This was one week after a so-called team-conference about the Andersson children had been held at her place of work (August 11, 1992, according to the journal entry). The chief physician has not considered it necessary to answer my questions about when and how this psychologist had been employed at BUP and if she participated in the team conference.

It was the psychologist’s colleague on the consultatory group who suggested her as investigator. He is the district attorney on the case. The diary from the District Court states that:

”The DA YY reports that NN has special experience with evaluating the credibility and reliability of children. She has worked earlier at the psychiatric clinic for children and youth in X-city and has been a consultant for the social welfare department. She has had no previous contact with the persons in the case before us.”

Is it true that the BUP psychologist had had no previous contact with the persons in the case or had been told Ann’s story? The statements of the BUP psychologist on the matter are somewhat contradictory:

/…/”Since these children were totally unknown to me and the case had not been presented without name in the consultatory group of X-city in my presence, I felt that I could accept the appointment.” /…/  (quote from a submission to the District Court, July 6, 1993)

The double negative makes the content hard to interpret. On April 19, 1993, the psychologist had said to the father’s attorney:

”If I have accepted an appointment as an expert to the court concerning persons who also were current in the consultatory group, it is in a case where I haven’t participated in the group’s discussions as in the current case.”

 

Was the Andersson case presented anonymously in the psychologist’s presence as she wrote in July 1993, or had she not participated as she said in April 1993?  Is it possible to maintain the anonymity of a family for whom several of the members of the consultatory group had been actively involved in various ways?

The investigating BUP psychologist reported on July 6, 1993:

”To the best of my knowledge the children were not patients at the BUP clinic in X-city during the period for my investigation, that is August 18, 1992, to November 1, 1992, nor had the family come to the attention of the social welfare department. The mother lodged the complaint with the police herself. It wasn’t until later, possibly during the autumn 1992 or during 1993 that their names were on a waiting list for a psychologist and that it has been mentioned that the mother is in touch with the chief physician.”

 

Didn’t the psychologist know that her boss and colleague in the consultatory group had met with Ann on April 15, 1992, had advised her to go to the Family Rights Group, to file a police complaint against the father, and had initiated a support contact on August 25, 1992? Didn’t the investigating BUP psychologist know that planning for the Andersson girls was done at the team-conference on August 25, 1992? Or that the team had discussed comprehensive psychological contacts for the girls on October 6 (ref. journal)? The BUP psychologist ensured the District Court in a submission dated July 6, 1993, that she had not participated in any discussions regarding the Andersson children, either at BUP or in the consultatory group. Didn’t she know that the social welfare officers had specifically asked for contact with just her in their referral to BUP on October 15, 1992? I quote:

”We would be grateful if NN (the name of the BUP psychologist) would contact one of us as soon as possible.

According to the project leader at the social welfare department the consultatory group meets the first Monday of each month to discuss suspicions about sexual abuse. Ann lodged her complaint on a Friday (April 24, 1992). The first Monday in May was May 4. According to the social welfare investigation, Ann called the family rights group on May 5 and told about her visit to BUP and about her suspicions. The project leader was then informed and the case was given to another colleague in the consultatory group. In other words, the Andersson family had certainly ”come to the attention of the social welfare department”.

When the consultatory group met in June 1992, six of the fourteen members of the group were involved in the Andersson case and by August of the same year, an additional two had been involved. At the meeting in January 1993, nine of the fourteen members were involved. It is probable that they discussed the case among themselves, both earlier and later.

The BUP psychologist’s expert report (turned in November 1, 1992) it is obvious that, along with the BUP chief physician, the police and the social welfare officers, she treats mother Ann’s information as facts, letting them inform her interpretations. Since she has been criticised, she sticks to her conclusions and insists that the mother has not influenced Eva:

”In my evaluation I have looked at many different factors which by themselves are not sufficient, but which taken together suggest that Eva’s statement derives from self-experienced events. I have not found anything contradictory in her statement, nor anything which suggests that Eva has been exposed to systematic influence to tell about abuse.”

(From the report of the investigating BUP psychologist to the District Court, October 31, 1993)

As we have seen, Eva hasn’t described any abuse, in spite of the efforts of the policeman and the mother to get her to do so. On the other hand, the mother has talked about abuse that she says Eva has described for her. Nor does the report that concluded the psychologist’s expert statement describe concretely what the content of ”Eva’s statement” or ”Eva’s information” should be. In spite of the fact the Eva herself has never provided any information about abuse, the BUP psychologist concluded that:

”Eva Andersson’s information is reliable and is based on self-experienced events.”

 

What do the BUP journals say?

Is there anything supporting the contention that Eva had talked about abuse in BUP’s journal pages regarding Eva and Lena I finally was allowed to read. Only a few of the entries are notes following direct contact with he girls. Other entries deal with what the mother has said during telephone conversations or during visits to the chief physician regarding what the girls are supposed to have said, how the mother says they have reacted and what the mother says they have done.

All this journal material is dated after Ann and Per separated. I quote from the journal entries on April 15, 1992, Ann’s first visit to the chief physician:

”She (the mother) is encouraged to seek sole custody. In addition she should seek a first contact with the family rights group to describe her fears. It is important that the mother not leave the children with the biological father without the presence of another adult when he’s not in one of his mano-depressive periods. Since he is psychotic, my position is that he should not care for the children at all.

The mother is given information as to how investigations are conducted within the social welfare department, the police and district attorney’s offices, as well as at BUP, but the most important point for the moment is that the children be protected from the biological father.

The mother blames herself for not having thought about these things earlier or that she hasn’t noticed anything. Once she saw Lena touch her fathers penis and he got an erection, but she thought this was an isolate occurrence.”

From the entries after this first visit, this ”emergency appointment for advice”, it is obvious that the chief physician has wholly accepted the mothers information as objective facts. It also seems that she has influenced Ann to see that Ann ought to have seen something earlier. During this visit the journal informs us that Ann says it is on her demand that she and Per have been separated for six weeks. Ann provides an extremely negative picture of Per, including the false allegation that he has a mano-depressive personality with autumn-winter-spring illness periods and that he has been unfaithful with different partners on repeated occasions.

Even though the chief physician had no idea if anything of what Ann described was in accord with historic reality, she still determined that Per ought not take care of the children and that the children should be protected from their biological father. Under recommended measures it says:

”First get in touch with the family rights group to set up [her] own custody of all three children.”

The next entry into the journal for Eva and Lena dates from July 31, 1992, when their mother talked to the counsellor by phone and described:

”strong guilt feelings over not having understood and so been able to intervene in the abuse of the girls”

and about how

”the girls now after the fact have clearly described their father’s abuse and showed on their little brother how their father had masturbated while he was touching Eva’s genitals.” /../ Under recommended measures it says: Journal to Tuesday’s team meeting for continued planning”.

When it comes to Eva there is an entry that she visited a psychologist on November 11, 18 and 25, 1992, and on November 3 and 24, 1993. The first three visits were set up after a referral from the family rights group and consequently were investigatory visits. They were complete within 14 days.

The last two were also investigatory, this time on the request from the mother’s attorney and Eva’s legal representative for ”a current evaluation of the girl” (quote from the journal, September 22, 1993). The reason was a possible civil case for damages in December 1993.

There are notes from three of the five psychologist visits at BUP. One entry deals with how the mother controls things and worries:

”Mother more anxious than the girls during the appointment here, both before and after. Before about if they will be able to leave her and afterwards about what they have said and not said to me. Told me that no one at the kindergarten sees any problems with the girls, but the especially Eva is self-destructive at home.”

From the two evaluation appointments asked for by the attorney a year later, the psychologist concludes that:

”I don’t see any of the anxiety, instability and self-destructiveness the mother has observed, primarily at home”.

Lena had three investigation visits as well, on the same days as Eva in November 1992. In addition and on her mother’s request, she had two appointments just under a year later, since according to her mother she had talked about how

”her biological father had pushed his index finger into her anus and that it hurt.” /…/ and ”Lena has now begun to show symptoms of not defecating and becoming constipated, necessitating [various laxatives and medication]. She sleeps poorly and talks a lot about ’biological father, ghosts, her bum and daddy’s job’”

(Journal entry by the chief physician, March 30, 1993).

According to the child-minder Lena has been constipated before without any connection to her father having had his finger in her anus.

The mother’s information to me that Eva and Lena have had appointments at BUP on several occasions when they’ve not felt well are only partially correct – for Lena. Judging by all the information, Ann has worked to get the indictment against Per to include Lena as well. On March 30, 1993, the chief physician wrote:

”It is now clear that there will be an indictment against the biological father for abuse of the oldest daughter Eva, but not regarding Lena since insufficient evidence has been developed during the investigation.”

In conclusion it can be said that:

The girls have had five appointments with a psychologist spread over one year that at BUP designed to provide documentation for a statement to the social welfare department and in support of a possible suit for damages, as well as because the mother said that Lena didn’t feel well. The journal entries from these visits do not support the mother’s report that the girls have had problems and have received treatment for them. Nor are there any observations that support her allegations against Per.

Earlier journals

After receiving permission from Ann, I have read journals from the Child Health Care Centre, the Paediatric Reception, the Child and Youth Clinic at the Central Hospital in X-city and in part from BUP. The question is whether there is anything in the journal entries to support the report that Eva (or Lena) has been sexually abused by their father.

According to police notes, Ann told F during their first interview:

”… also that the girls were red in the genital area, Eva mostly and even swollen. Ann took Eva to the Child Health Care Centre where she was given ointment for the redness.”

<R4>Journals from the Child Health Care Centre

There are no entries in the Child Health Care Centre journal for Eva stating that she has been either red or swollen in the genital area.

There is only one entry in her whole life about her anal area, but then without mentioning any swelling. This dates from August 15, 1988, when Eva was 1 1/2 months old and states that ”bottom improved”. During 1990 it says that several mollusculum sores had been removed. According to nurse B in a telephone conversation with the author on January 5, 1994, it was she who removed the mollusculum sores from Eva. She describes these as a type of wart virus that is common among children at daycare centres. These ’warts’ itch, rupture and spread to various places on the body and to other persons. They can even attack the outer labia. The mollusculum sores can also be infected, in which case they self-rupture.

The journals contain notes about Eva such as ”good”, ”brave”, ”awake”, ”philosophical” and ”Excellent. Everything OK.”

There are two entries about the fact that Eva doesn’t feel well, one from November 1992 and the other from August 1993, both at times when Eva had long since lost contact with her father Per:

  1. November 5, 1992: Many infections during the autumn. Feels better now, but has lost weight and displays worry and fear. Cries and hides after her brother’s vaccination. Dr. A informed.
  2. August 10, 1993: Mother says that Eva complains about evening headaches – difficulties watching TV – appointment with a counsellor specialising in nervous conditions. No sick feelings or vomiting – mother does not suspect migraine. Symptoms have worsened the last month. New appt. Aug. 18.

 

In Lena’s Child Health Care Centre journals is an entry from January 31, 1992, when she was three weeks old saying ”improved bottom” and ”some anal eczema”. The only entry about ointment in relation to her genital area is from February 28, 1992, and says ”Labial skin fully healed, but has begun to drip again. To urinary culture.” Lena has probably been infected by Eva’s mollusculum problem and one has appeared on the labia. Sores were removed from Lena as well during 1991 and early 1992.

One entry from May 4, 1990, mentions that there is much allergy in the family and says that ”Lena has asthmatic bronchitis”. There are more entries about fever and bronchial problems.

Conclusion: the mother’s information to the police stating that she had taken the girls, and then mostly Eva, to the Child Health Care Centre for redness in the genital area and received ointment for it, is contradicted by the information in the centre journals.

Journals from the Paediatric Reception

The journal pages from the Paediatric Reception state that the girls, and then mainly Lena, have had a troublesome cough and that both have had difficult colds. Eva’s journal has entries from four visits, all dealing with difficult colds.

At a visit on January 13, 1992, there are entries stating that Lena has difficulties urinating and describing three impetiginous changes on the outer labia (one ”with a central crack” and ”redness in the vaginal mucosa, oedematous”). These genital area problems that Lena had can be related to the mollusculum sores mentioned above, the wart virus that can spread to the labial skin. Lena’s and Eva’s aunt T (father’s sister) related in a police interview what according to the police Ann had told T when she was on a visit after the family had moved to X-löv. This must have been sometime between mid-December 1991 and March 5, 1992, exactly during the period when there are journal entries detailing Lena’s genital area problems.

”At that point Ann related that Lena had pimples in her bottom. Ann fussed so much with these that Lena almost refused to go to the bathroom. The fussing was done on the bathroom floor. T doesn’t know if Ann washed or applied ointment. T was outside in the large room and the door to the bathroom stood open.”

 

The pimples ought to be those mollusculum sores that the journals state that both girls were bothered by, but which have nothing to do with their father.

 

Journal from the Child and Youth Clinic at the Central Hospital

Eva’s journal at the Child and Youth Clinic at the Central Hospital contains no entries about genital area problems, except that when she was new-born she had some sort of fungal eczema.

During the period covered by the indictment there are no entries about Eva.

You can read that mother Ann sought help for things she observed and worried about, such as an arm that was pinched during birth. Had she been worried about swellings in Eva’s genital area she would also have sought help with that.

The journal entries for Lena deal mostly with bronchial problems, but once Per had been indicted it is obvious that Ann has sought help with various problems with Lena that Ann alleges has connection with the father’s sexual abuse. She is convinced the abuse allegations involved Lena as well. However, several entries in the journal state that Lena had no problems when she came to the hospital.

The mother’s statements to the investigating BUP psychologist

Below is a very brief summary of the talks the investigating BUP psychologist had with the mother starting September 11, 1992. Ann suggests to the BUP psychologist that Eva is alleged to have talked on several occasions about ”where it hurts on her”. What it is that hurts is never explained by Ann. Ann says that Lena ”might have talked about wanting to visit daddy” and then ”Eva might have said”. It’s very up in the air and imprecise, just as Ann’s other statements about what the girls are supposed to have said. If Eva really was afraid of her father and had told this to her mother, the mother should be able to be more definite.

It is interesting to note that Ann describes several situations where Eva (according to Ann) defends Per, but when it comes to describing what actually happened, there are no facts. One example of such a statement from Ann is:

”I don’t think dumb, it’s like she understands more than what you think. Sometimes she almost defends Per against me and says daddy is nice too. And he roughhouses with me and such. And then she can tell something or if Lena has told it, Eva can deny it saying no, that’s not how it was. But then in another connection she’ll say it was.”

Ann’s statement suggests that she talks a lot about father Per with her daughter Eva.

To the investigating BUP psychologist Ann says that Eva has described much more than Lena, but she doesn’t say what. In spite of this the psychologist accepts Ann’s statement as fact: Eva has described a lot. Which she hasn’t.

Interview with the mother

Well arrived in a snow bedecked X-löv on November 25, 1993, I step into the newly built and handsome house and meet Ann and her mother in the kitchen. They are preparing lunch, a meal they often eat together when Ann’s mother finishes early at her adult education school. We talk about the weather and child minding. Then the girl’s grandmother takes her lunch with her to her house, three doors away.

In my interview with Ann she tells me that Kalle’s penis looks rather special. He has no foreskin around his glans. According to Ann he has something that looks like a fold of skin on the front and under it is a notch without a hole for urination. That sits on the backside and a bit of the urethra is missing. When he was a baby it wasn’t so obvious, according to Ann, but it became more and more apparent that he had problems peeing. Now she reports that she empties her son’s bladder with a catheter at three-hour intervals. She says they will operate on him when he turns three. Kalle’s special construction as described by his mother would make it possible for Eva to have lifted the flap.

The decisive event

While talking to me Ann tells about the situation she says aroused her suspicions. She says that Eva ”first talked” while she was bathing her small brother Kalle. Ann says that Eva lifted the flap on Kalle’s penis and then began to touch it. She continues:

Ann              Then I said laughing, ’cause it looked really dumb, I said what are you doing? Daddy does that on me, she said and looked up at me. Then he does this, ’n she pulled her pants down and touched herself between her legs like and then she looked at me and said: you’re not angry at me, mommy, ’cause it didn’t hurt, even if it hurt a little bit and then she ran away and cried. I didn’t react very much then like, but I did react even if it wasn’t that I thought I’d turn him in for incest like, but I can’t say I was shocked like.

When I say that what she now told me didn’t agree with what she had said according to the extracts from the police interview (nor on the tape that the investigating BUP psychologist had recorded), namely that Eva is supposed to have said: ’Daddy does this.’, Ann responds:

Ann              Yes, daddy does this or daddy does this to me.

There doesn’t seem to be important to Ann, but the difference is rather large if Eva has said and shown something she has seen daddy do on himself or if she has shown something her daddy has done to her.

I ask if Ann has noticed if Per pulls back the foreskin when he washes himself and if Eva could have seen that. Ann answers that she hasn’t looked very closely. Later in her interview with me, Ann says:

Ann:             I don’t have any doubts myself that what they relate shouldn’t be true like. I can’t understand that a daddy would do that to his children.

–                    Isn’t it possible that you have misunderstood the whole thing? I ask later on.

She answers no and says that for about a year now Eva has been self-destructive and uncommunicative.

There is no support for Eva’s self-destructiveness in any journals nor any observations of it from anyone other than Ann’s stepfather.

In the report from the social welfare officers written from Ann’s point of view of the relationship, the following is found in reference to discussions with the kindergarten personnel:

”Neither of the girls exhibit self-destructive behaviour.”  It is further noted:

”The personnel say it’s hard to notice anything on the girls, unless one knows the background.”

And:

”The personnel say that Ann has a great need to talk. Already during the intake procedure in early August 1992 she informed the staff that Per was suspected of incest.”

In her regular talks with the BUP chief physician, weekly according to Ann, she has mentioned that Eva didn’t feel well and then Eva has been helped at BUP. This happened at various times and Ann doesn’t remember exactly, she says.

A check in the BUP journals reveals what already has been mentioned that Eva has never been treated at BUP. She has gone through two different evaluation sessions comprising five meetings in all. In other words, Ann’s information to me was incorrect.

According to Ann, Eva didn’t want to go back to the child-minder after her daddy had been there and Ann thought this was very difficult. She reports to me that Eva was afraid that her daddy would come back and this was the reason the girls stopped going to the child-minder. I ask her about the lack of agreement between what she is saying about the girls’ fear and that the child-minder told the police the children threw themselves at Per when he came, coupled with the fact that Ann had just said that they probably were happy when Per came. Ann says she can’t answer.

Ann:             If they had wanted to see him, I wouldn’t have stopped it. I wouldn’t have. But Eva and Lena were very scared.

Ann has done everything in her power to prevent the girls seeing Per. Her repeated statements that the girls are afraid of Per do not become truer just because she repeats them so often.

Ann says the girls have felt poorly in periods and that Eva has felt better intermittently.

Ann:             They were doing very well until grandma came [Per’s mother]. They’re not afraid of their grandma and I wish I can explain that to her some day. At the same time it feels as if maybe I should call and ask her to come over, but at the same time I feel it’s so difficult to cope with the fits Lena and Eva throw since I can’t take much more myself soon.

Ann’s statement that the children didn’t feel good since they had met their grandmother is not supported in the interview extract with the contact woman who was there during her visit. It says: ”The children seemed happy to see their grandmother.” Ann’s statements generally neither agrees with information from others nor even with her own.

Ann says that the only thing that can help the kids is for Per to confess.

When I ask if Eva’s alleged despair appears in some special situation, Ann answers that Eva sometimes says that ’Daddy is nasty’ and on two or three occasions at the kindergarten she’s become inconsolable.

The two persons from the girl’s kindergarten who were interviewed by the police have not related anything like that. Nor have any of the four kindergarten staff who talked with the social welfare officers at six different  times from September 1992 through September 1993 said that Eva had been inconsolable. She is described as cuddly, sweet and easy to reach (p. 16 of the §50 investigation).

–                    Your worry stems from your concern that something has happened to the girls, eh?

Ann:             Mm.

–                    How do you react to the fact that the indictment only covers Eva?

Ann:             Yes, it’s simply awful. I’ve cried over that many times. ’Cause I think that Lena was maybe 2 1/2 , what’s demanded, what does society demand? Or maybe I’m saying it wrong, but you then, what do you ask of her? They said she didn’t say anything, what should she say? I can’t say to her that she should say this and this and that, that what you say to mommy you have to say. I can’t.

–                    There’s no difference for you?

Ann:             No. There’s no difference. And I think if Per is convicted, and now it’s an if, it will all be because of Eva like, and how will Lena react when she grows up: why didn’t you do anything for me mommy? Maybe like. It’s not only that, for it’s, it’s just as terrible if it’s Lena or Eva.

–                    If he’s convicted you say. [But] what if he doesn’t, if it all peters out and the whole things is closed or he’s freed?

Ann:             That’s terrible!

–                    How do you rea … what do you think then?

Ann:             Oh yes, I’ve thought a lot and it’s hard to say what I think, for I don’t have the strength to think it through. I don’t. It’s awful if he should have the children alone and abuse them, that’s the only thing that’s important. Then what kind of punishment or if he doesn’t get a punishment, that’s not important.

–                    But if the authorities decide that it isn’t possible for anything to have happened – you won’t accept that?

Ann:             No, I believe in what Eva and Lena have told. I live with them like and see how they react. I don’t think they would have reacted that way over Per or that any child would have reacted that way. I have nothing to compare with like, but that’s how it is, so, why should they suddenly be so scared of him like?

 

Again and again Ann takes up the fact that the girls have told and that she must believe them, plus that the girls have become afraid of Per. Still neither she nor anyone else can get either Eva or Lena to tell anything and nothing beyond the mother’s information suggests that either of the girls is scared of their father. That their mother has succeeded in making them afraid of their daddy who they haven’t seen for a long time cannot be assumed as evidence that their father has hurt or scared them.

None of the experts Ann had contact with saw that she was in need of qualified help in order to get rid of her fixed ideas and to find herself. Though the girls probably have been harmed by the fact that their mother has used them against their father has also passed the experts by. They have considered and accepted Ann as the nurturing mother who protects her children from an incestuous father. In this way she has managed to keep the girls away from their father for a long time and has managed to convince the experts that this is because the girls are afraid of the absent father.

The father’s information

The only record that exists of the police interrogations with Per Andersson are extracts. The police have written a short, two-page summary from the first, two hour and ten minutes long interrogation held as late as June 4, 1992. During this interrogation the officer pressed Per hard to get him to confess, in part by referring to the fact that Eva had told a lot of details from his job where he was alleged to have abused her. According to Per this information came from the investigating BUP psychologist. The police do not write anything about this, only summarising that Per Andersson ”denies sexual abuse with a minor”.

The extract informs us that Per had told how Eva and Lena had taken hold of his penis at least ten times when they were bathing, that Ann was also there and that he had gotten some type of erection.

The second interrogation on November 25, 1992, was only one hour long, but is reported in a four-page extract  written by the interrogating officer. The protocol states that it was primarily Lena who had ’played’ with Per’s penis on several occasions without his experiencing any pleasurable sensation.

”At that time she had taken hold of his penis, shook it and said ’willie, willie’. Per thinks that Eva had done the same thing when she was younger. It is on such occasions that he had gotten some type of erection. Per wanted to add that even Ann had seen this.”

 Per’s interview with the investigating BUP psychologist

The dominant impression one gets from the long interview Per Andersson had with the investigating BUP psychologist (attached as an appendix to my report) is that he had decided to tell her everything to help her get at the truth.

Per expresses despair and irritation over the fact that time runs away without his being allowed to see his children and without any result in the investigation. He answers openly and tells many details that can be used against him. Examples include the fact that he sleeps naked and that he has gone up to the children at night when they have woken and needed consolation. He also says that on a few occasions he’s been alone with them in the sauna and it’s possible that they could have touched him then. He says that Eva sat on him in the bathtub and that both she and Lena have touched his penis then. He relates that he experiences a greater need for sex in the autumn since the shortage of melatonin has given him mental difficulties. Per says that his and Ann’s sex life worked well when they were attending family therapy in 1990, but after that it deteriorated and the sexual desire disappeared because of all the fighting. On the whole, Per shows a very great faith in the BUP psychologist.

A systematic and scientific analysis of Per’s statement to the psychologist would have shown that they satisfy many reality criteria. Included are statements that are very special for him and which he would have had difficulty formulating if he had abused his children, such as:

–     I’m only suspected, but I feel guilty. After all I haven’t been allowed to see my children for six months.

He doesn’t try to hide anything, explain away things, get away from the main questions or present himself in a specially advantageous light. The wealth of detailed description, thoughts, sudden memories  and the emotional expressions all join to leave the impression that his statements tell of something he himself has experienced and that what he describes is authentic.

One question that he repeats again and again is: ”How could Ann’s mother encourage them to build their house so close to her and her new husband if, as she now alleges, she suspected that Per had sexually abused Eva when the girl was very small, long before the divorce.”

Interview with Per Andersson

We met on November 25, 1993, in the residence Per has shared for a year with his current partner. They met in the autumn 1992.

Per started out by telling me about yesterday’s court proceedings in the civil case, his difficulties with being able to see his son Kalle and the fact that it had been a long time since he saw the girls. The last time he saw Eva was in May 1992 – Lena he saw on the 13th or the 14th of October 1992 when he visited the daycare centre after his ban ended. Eva was home sick. Nor has he spoken with the girls on the phone. Per said it would have been logical for Lena to have been angry at him for not coming earlier, but she was happy to see him, jumped up in his lap, gave him drawings and wanted to play. He thinks that had Lena reacted differently it would probably have been interpreted to mean that she was afraid of him:

Per:              All unusual things in relation to the children have been viewed in one way only. For all intents and purposes I have been guilty since the complaint was lodged on April 24, in practice I have been.

 

Per described that he, during a visit with Ann and the children at the home of Ann’s mother and stepfather on April 10, 1992, had been asked questions about if he had hurt the children. Then he was told that he would get a piece of paper. From Per’s point of view, more and more odd comments came up in telephone conversations with Ann and finally he asked if she accused him of incest.

Per tells about the discussions he and Ann had about building a house in X-löv, something they decided together, but which was very much influenced by the encouragement from Ann’s mother and stepfather. Per mentions again that his mother-in-law shouldn’t have encouraged this construction project if, as she has said in police interviews, she had made observation about Eva’s genital area in the beginning of 1990 raising suspicions of sexual abuse on his part.

Per:              I thought I’d gotten contact with Eva again during the summer 1991. And when we separated, I thought I had a solid relationship with Eva.

By then the parents-in-law had move out of Per’s and Ann’s home.

Per described a time when Ann had been out playing Ping-Pong and he let Eva lie in her room with the door open. She had difficulties falling asleep, called several times for him to come and was awake when Ann came home at nine in the evening. He thinks that this is the occasion that Ann has described Eva as being ’paralysed’, which is what he thinks it says in the protocol.

We talk about the time Per took the girls to his job when Ann was at the maternity hospital in February 1992. That was the first time they were there and they had dinner together with the personnel working at the time. Another time rather soon thereafter they were there again, this time because he was supposed to participate in a conference. His sister T was to come and fetch them. Eva and Lena were asleep when they came to the job and a person named NN helped him carry them in asleep. Then a girl named XX sat with them until T came almost at once, as Per describes it.

Per drove to his new job to fetch his contact lens case just after Ann had given birth to Kalle. He didn’t take Lena with him since he thought it was too late (7:30 p.m.). Per called his father-in-law on the phone and asked him to come over awhile‚ he thinks it was no more than a half-hour. Eva slept at the parents-in-law on her own request. It was on this occasion that the step-grandfather says that Lena was all excited, but according to Per she was asleep when he came back.

I ask if it’s true as the interrogation record states that the girls have touched his penis around ten times in connections with bathing. Yes, he answers, but it was mainly Lena who was interested. She had shaken it and said ”willie, willie”.

We talk about his mental problems. He says it was worse when he and Ann had problems. It was also hard when Ann was sick a lot and he was forced to stay home, a problem since it was teamwork and no substitute was brought in when Per was out. Earlier he would sometimes take medicine during the periods when he was depressed , specifically [an anti-depressant] called Fevarin which helped raise his spirits. But he feels it’s gotten since he met a doctor who explained that he had a melantonin deficiency.

Referring to ’infidelity’ Per says that this was in the beginning of his and Ann’s relationship that he spent time with his former girlfriend. But he hadn’t told Ann about it until just before their wedding, which he wanted to postpone because they had been having problems. However, Ann had decided that she wanted them to get married. It was either that or separation, a decision she had reached after having visited with her father. According to Per, Ann had brought up separation on about ten occasions. After the wedding they went to family counselling five or six times during the spring 1990.

–                    What would you really like?

Per:              Yes, I’d like to see the children as soon as possible.

The background of the suspicions

As we have seen, Per refers repeatedly to earlier suspicions voiced by his former mother-in-law. The preliminary investigation record contains an alleged observation of Eva’s genital area dated to the beginning of 1990. This observation is supposedly made by Ann’s mother and her current husband. The alleged abuse event reported by them is not part of the indictment, but does form the background for the current suspicions. Below this observation is reported in the chronological order in which appears in the preliminary investigation report.

 

Extract from interview with Ann on April 24, 1992

”When Eva was 1 1/2, Ann was in the hospital for a period. Her mother and stepfather took care of the girls now and then. One day they had taken care of the girls and left them with Per for the evening. The following morning they called Per and the children, but no one answered. Then they drove to their house and rang the doorbell. After a long time Per opened. He seemed sick and said he’d been lying down. Ann’s mother went in to take care of the children. When she changed diapers on Eva she saw that the girls was very swollen and very red in the genital area. This was concentrated around the vagina. According to what Ann’s mother now has told Ann, there was also a suggestion of a bruise around Eva’s vaginal opening. Ann’s mother thought what she saw was so unusual that she called in her husband. They began to think about abuse. They said nothing to Ann before Ann had told them what Eva had said about the tiger cage. Only then did Ann’s mother say that she and her husband had suspected abuse of Eva since she was 1 1/2 years old.”

 

Extract from interview with Ann’s mother on June 4, 1992

”As part of the ongoing investigation Ann’s mother was asked when she first suspected or had knowledge of any abuse of the girls. She said that it was in January or February 1990. Ann was in the hospital because of bleeding in the lower abdomen. Per had taken time from his job to take care of the girls. At one point Ann’s mother went over to Per and the girls where they lived on X-hill. She arrived in the afternoon. He talked about having stomach-ache and that he didn’t feel so good. He seemed confused and ’ran around’ in the house. Ann’s mother offered to take care of the girls since he didn’t feel well, and to have the girls stay over with their grandmother.  Per thought this was a good idea, after which the grandmother called her husband to ask him to come and fetch them in his car.

                                            Ann’s mother went with her husband and the children to their house on X-meadow. After some supper and play, the grandmother undressed Eva in order to put her to bed. She then saw that Eva had very red and swollen labia. She even saw dark, blue-grey spots on Eva’s swollen labia. Ann’s mother thought these looked like ’pressure marks’. First she asked herself if the marks, redness and swelling could be the result of some abuse from Per’s side. She then asked her husband if he ’thought the same’, which he confirmed. The talked about what they saw. They didn’t know what to do. Naturally they took care of the children first and put them to bed. They then discussed their observations. They agreed that they would try to keep an eye on the children to see if any other signs cropped up. They even agreed not to mention their suspicions to Ann.

 

On two or three occasions after this event Ann’s mother has seen that Eva was swollen and red in her genital area. On each occasion the redness and swelling was on and in between the labia. The grandmother has had small children herself and has taken care of many children. She has seen diaper rash and similar things several times. What she saw on Eva didn’t look like anything she had seen earlier. It hasn’t looked like diaper rash or poor diaper hygiene. Ann’s mother says that you don’t get sores between the labia from diaper rash or poor diaper hygiene.”

 

We can note that Ann’s hearsay version differs both in time and symptom from her informant’s, that is her mother’s version. Can the alleged observations by Ann’s mother in fact be post event constructions originated in connection with the accusation in question?

Extract from an interview with Ann’s stepfather on May 14, 1993

Now we shall see how Ann’s stepfather tells the story to the investigator more than three years after the alleged event. Below is an extract from an interview with Ann’s stepfather on May 14, 1993:

”The event happened in the afternoon or towards the evening. At the time in question the stepfather saw marks and swelling on Eva’s labia. There were dark spots surrounding them. These were both on the labia and around them. There were marks that were darker than the surrounding skin colour. These spots were rather round and similar in size and shape. The skin change was not uniform over the whole labia. The marks were the size of a fingertip. There were app. 10 marks around and on Eva’s labia. The marks weren’t red or swollen like after a common diaper rash. Ann’s stepfather had never seen anything like it. He had a daughter himself whose growth he had witnessed and he had changed many diapers. In addition he had two sons who he also had cared for when they were small. He had also helped to change diapers now and then on Eva and Lena. He had seen diaper rashes earlier, but what he saw on Eva was something wholly different.

After the fact, the stepfather is sorry he and his wife didn’t arrange a medical examination for Eva. He thought at the time that sexual abuse didn’t exist against children who were as young as Eva, only that when it happened it was directed against older children.”

Comment

As we can see, the description by Ann’s stepfather regarding the time when he alleges to have made his observation agrees with that of Ann’s mother – it was in the afternoon or evening. However, his description differs by being much more detailed and in that the details do not occur in the earlier versions, as well as in seeming more improbable. Most space is given to a description of app. ten fingertip-sized, round, similar and dark spots. Ann’s version talks about a suggestion of a bruise around the vagina, while her mother’s version mention blue-grey pressure marks.

If it is supposed to be a grown man’s fingertips, there is hardly space for ten such on and around the labia of a 19-month-old female baby. It is completely improbable that an alleged abuse event or that a grown man’s penis contact would result in ten bruises of similar size and similar colour. Marks that were so remarkable as those the police say Ann’s stepfather described as ten fingertip-sized bruises ought to have been visible for several days. It would have been natural for everyone who helped take care of Eva would have been concerned, questioning themselves and each other as to what had happened.

That the three version of the same event do not agree on time and symptom, as well as the fact that the last version reported by the stepfather is the most detailed, suggests that these are constructions.

Can it be that Ann’s mother has influenced Ann through her story of her suspicions against Per and caused her to look for signs or confirmation that the suspicions were true? The analysis of the documentation suggests that this is the original source of the entire matter.

Influence

From the moment that their father moved in early March 1992, Eva and Lena have only met adults who thought that their father had done something nasty and unacceptable to them. The only exception was the child-minder, but they only met her up to and including May 1992.

Eva and Lena meet their grandmother and her husband every day, both of whom are convinced that their father has committed incest. According to what the children’s grandmother told me in an interview on November 25, 1993, she feels that Per is egoistic, irresponsible, a poor child rearer, someone the children are afraid of and a person who has committed incest. She thinks the children should never again have to meet their father.

It would seem that Ann has only met professionals who have believed that her’s and Per’s daughters have been sexually abused by Per and who have sought to help her and the children get away from Per. No one seems to have talked with Ann about her own problems from earlier or about her difficult social and emotional situation as a just divorced mother with three children, one just born, living in a new, highly mortgaged house. Much suffering could have been avoided and resources saved if Ann had instead met professionals who hadn’t reacted reflexively to the stated incest accusation, but had investigated if it could have some other cause than actual incestuous actions.

The BUP chief physician demonstrates in her journal entry from Ann’s first visit on April 15, 1992, that she not only accepted Ann’s vaguely stated incest suspicion. She in turn must have influenced Ann by clearly considering that Per was dangerous to the children and was a person who had abused them sexually. For example, one entry reads:

”The mother blames herself for not having thought about this before and that she hadn’t noticed anything.”

Misinterpretation

The fact that both the police and the investigating BUP psychologist have misunderstood or misinterpreted what the girls said can be traced to the fact that they have been influenced by Ann’s picture. The alternative is that there is some other reason they have a picture of Per as incestuous, a reason that is unknown to the author.

The interviewer writes as follows:

”After a short period, about at pos. 62 on the tape, there is a seemingly spontaneous statement:

Eva:        Mommy, my daddy he peed in my, my, my, my front bottom and then in my bellybutton., and then he took out his willie, out of … on me … into my front bottom.

Ann:       Did he, when was that?

Eva:        In the sauna.”

 

The BUP psychologist who submitted the first expert statement, has the same words in her report.

On listening through the tape you can hear the Eva does not say it in this way and that the statement is not spontaneous. At the start you can hear Ann encouraging Eva to ”sit down” and ”come now”, suggesting rather a situation that the mother has arranged. Below is an extract that I have put together after listening through the same tape several times:

One of the girls says ´taddy´, or ´daddy´, it may be Eva. Ann asks: hmmm, what did you say, what did you say? ´-I want…says one of the girls. Ann pours something, ”so ”, whispering.

Eva:              Well…(as if getting set).

Ann:             Thank you.

Eva:              Mommy (happily).

Ann:             Mm.

Eva:              My daddy… (as if getting set again)

Ann:             Mm.

Eva:              He peed in my, in my, in my, in my, my front bottom and then in my, and then in my bellybutton … and then he took … wil, his willie out of the tummy, on (difficult to hear since Kalle is whining), in my head.

Ann:             He did that?

Eva:              Mm. (sounds pleased)

Ann:             When was that then? (Kalle whines)

Eva:              In the sauna.

Ann:             In the sauna?

Eva:              Mm.

Ann:             Oh, which sauna?

Eva:              In the X-hill sauna.

Ann:             OK.

Eva:              in the cellar.

Ann:             Oh? Did you shower?

Eva:              Mm

Ann:             Who else was there? Was there anyone else?

Eva:              No. T.

Ann:             Oh?  (Lena is heard)

Ann:             Who was there then? Were you there like? Who else was there then?

Eva:              Lena was there.

Ann:             Were you bathing in the sauna? (Kalle whines)

Eva’s statement that her daddy had peed in her ’front bottom’ and in the navel, as well as taking his penis out of the stomach and on the head is confused. It does not match the extract that the police and the BUP psychologist have taken out of context – and quoted completely wrong.

Eva hangs up, repeating ”my” five times and towards the end says that daddy took the penis in the head. Before this it sounds as if she’s getting set, that is it could be that she has repeated what she is going to record many times and that she presents a ’lesson’ here which gets a bit confused because she hasn’t understood the contents.  This can be the reason she gets hung up, repeats herself and seems to get set several times. Eva does not say that her daddy put his penis in her ’front bottom’. She also says that T was there, at the same time as she answers negatively. In a telephone conversation with the author in November 1993, T, Per’s sister, says that she has never taken a sauna with the children on X-hill.

Yet another example of misunderstanding or misinterpretation appears in the police report of a statement on another tape, written in Appendix to primary investigation protocol dated October 22, 1992. This is what the interviewer has written:

”One of the girls says that daddy is ’nasty’. One of the girls, possibly Eva, says ’daddy was aw’fly nasty when he touched me with his willie’. Then Ann asks: ´Did he touch you with his willie?´ The daughter answers: ´He touched me in my front bottom with his willie.´”

 

If you listen carefully you can hear that this is misquote. Instead Eva comes out with the rather remarkable statement:

”For daddy has been so aw’fly nasty when he touched me in the willie”.

This misstatement is corrected by mother Ann (see above) by asking: ”Did he touch you in the willie?” And then Eva answers in the way it should be, according to her mother: ”He touched me in my front bottom. With his willie.”

The girls seem to repeat stereotypically what they have heard many times. Eva cannot give it any content nor convey any emotions or remembrance. Nor can she provide anything that can be interpreted as her having been exposed to anything improper by her daddy.

Support for Ann’s picture

Measures such as injunction against visiting and failure to appoint a contact person must have created and/or reinforced the perception Ann’s mind, as well as having told her immediate surroundings and not least the children, that Per had done illicit things to the girls.

Through their actions the professional on the case have demonstrated that they have accepted Ann’s description as being the true one. The evidence suggests that the various persons responsible have influenced each other and in that way reinforced and added to the picture.

In other words, Ann has not been alone in constructing the accusation against Per.

The information about Per as a sexual criminal is repeated, sometimes as below by a professional who has accepted the mother’s description as gospel without having checked them out. On April 26, 1993, the mother’s attorney in the custody case and Eva’s legal representative wrote as follows:

”Even if the preliminary investigation has not led to a criminal indictment in the case of Lena, it is possible that she too has been abused. However, it is also true that a relationship between Per Andersson and Lena is not suitable in light of the fact that Lena can have been present when Eva was abused. Today Lena does not feel at all well, mentally. She is afraid of Per Andersson, has problems with bed-wetting and does not dare to go to the toilet. As early as tomorrow, Ann Andersson is going to visit the psychologist at the Psychiatric Clinic for Children and Youth to discuss Lena’s problems.”   /../

The picture created is something of a Catch 22
  • Before the case has even been tried, the mother’s attorney argues that Lena should not be allowed to meet her father because she may have been present when the father abused Eva.
  • The social welfare committee wrote:

”Keeping in mind that Lens could have been present on the occasion when Eva was abused, the social welfare committee is not ready to arrange a contact person for visits with Lena.”

  • Since the social welfare committee feels itself unable to appoint a contact person, the district court does not approve the father’s request:

”In relation to visitation with Lena, the fact that the social welfare committee does not feel it can appoint a contact person reason enough not to approve Per Andersson’s motion for visitation with Lena.”

The mother’s picture cannot be confirmed

After a thorough analysis it becomes obvious that Ann has submitted exaggerated, conflicting and false information. This has influenced the picture of what has happened and therefore the actions of various persons.

  • For example, this is true for the story of what Eva is supposed to have said and demonstrated the first time she ”told”. Ann has submitted three different versions. In the last related to me she has reported that Eva said that her father had done this to me and then pulled down her own pants and touched herself in her ’front bottom’. After a check of the date, it is not true as Ann has said that this event, for which we have no proof, is the origin of her suspicions.
  • Ann has reported to the police and others that Eva and Lena have made spontaneous statements (Eva ”lots of times”) about the nasty things their father has done, stating where and when and how. On a careful examination and analysis of four of the tapes the mother has recorded, as well as of other statements it becomes apparent that there isn’t one single spontaneous statement from either of the girls about anything nasty their father has done to them. Ann’s report that Eva has provided details about such items as place and time isn’t true either.
  • The differences are very large between what mother Ann’s says about Eva being afraid of her father and observations made by others. According to the child-minder who had taken care of Eva daily during the entire period of alleged abuse says that Eva has never shown any fear of her father, not even during visits at the centre after Ann’s complaint. Quite the reverse – the child-minder reports that the girls were happy to see their father and threw themselves at him.
  • The differences are also large between Ann’s statements about Eva’s fear of her father and Eva’s own statements about her father. When I met Eva she did not give the impression that there was any fear. Rather she missed her father. She said the same thing in her interview with the investigating BUP psychologist. It is even possible to see how Eva misses her father in her talks with her mother, such as when she says that she is sorry because she wants to hug her daddy.
  • Ann did not tell the truth when she told me and the BUP psychologist that she kept the girls away from the child-minder during May because Eva was afraid her father would come there again.
  • Ann also said to me that she felt ”forced” to tell the child-minder, suggesting that she had unfortunately found it necessary to tell about her complaint against Per. According to the child-minder, Ann talked almost every day after lodging the complaint to both the child-minder and her neighbour about her incest suspicions against Per.
  • Ann reported to both the BUP psychologist and to me that Eva had told such odd stories about her father and this was the reason she called BUP for advice on the normality. According to the BUP journal for Eva, Ann called April 13, 1992, and had her first interview with the chief physician on the 15th. At that time she described Per as mentally ill (”mano-depressive illness with illness periods during autumn-winter-spring”), as well as reporting that Per’s repeated unfaithfulness with different persons was also cause for ”the request for separation by the mother”. In other words, she didn’t ask for advice, but presented negative and inaccurate information about Per. According to a statement from Per’s physician Per had stomach problems with manic symptoms when he was 18 years old and after that lowered moods with depressive symptoms when he was 24. After that there was no entry until March 1991 when ”he was diagnosed as having a depressive period and received anti-depressive medicine” which cleared up the problem within 12 days. The next contact with the doctor was in December 1991 when Per had felt down for a month and had talked about such things as his wife’s terrible temper and how the two fought. Ann’s clearly false picture of Per’s illness has been put in writing in the investigation report by the social welfare officers.

 

  • Ann also reported to me that she didn’t know where to turn. According to her attorney, he had advised her to go to BUP and to the police’s incest expert when Ann had told him of his suspicions in a telephone conversation on April 16, 1992. But that was three days after she already called BUP and one day after she had been there and been supported by the chief physician. In other words, Ann knew where to turn.
  • Ann has reported that the girls have had genital area problems and that she has taken them to such places as the Child Health Care Centre, where she received ointments, primarily for Eva. However, she has never been to the Child Health Care Centre with Eva regarding any such problems. Nor has she been anywhere else.
  • The information that Ann gave to the BUP psychologist that Lena had a genital area infection in the autumn 1991 and had been treated at the Paediatric Centre isn’t true either.
  • Ann has repeatedly talked about Eva’s self-destructiveness as a sign that her father had abused her. According to the journals, the BUP psychologist who examined the girls did not note any self-destructiveness in Eva after five separate interviews. The kindergarten personnel haven’t seen anything like it either, nor had the child-minder earlier.

Summary and conclusions

Ann Andersson has been at home with the children since the first daughter Eva was born in July 1988. At that time she and Per Andersson barely knew each other. Eva was conceived shortly after they met. At that time Per worked in another community and moved in with Ann just before Eva was born. Ann had been on the sick list since 1985, after an injury she says she got in connection with a spinal test.

Ann and Per got married in December 1989 after Lena’s birth. After that they attended family therapy to get help with their difficulties. On March 5, 1992, Per moved out after a year of discord and fighting, just when the family had moved into a newly built house in X-löv mortgaged for just over one million kronor. At that point their son Kalle had just been born (February 12, 1992).

Since April 1992 Ann has acted as if she were convinced that Per has committed incestuous sexual abuse against both his daughters.

Her mother was the first one she discussed these incest suspicions with. However, it wasn’t Ann who expressed the suspicions, but her mother. According to Ann’s mother this happened as early as in March 1992, exactly when Per had moved.

The BUP journal entry dated July 31, which happens to be the first since April 15, contains information about the ”diaper change event”, indicating that Ann has borrowed material from the leading questions the police asked the girls towards the end of May 1992, specifically regarding whether the girls had been given bookmarks by their father because they had been ”nice” in some way. This entry also suggests that both Eva and Lena had shown on their little brother how their father had ”masturbated while he was touching Eva’s front bottom”.

”Pat. Now displays strong guilt feelings over not having understood and thus stepped in regarding the abuse of the girls, says that afterwards the girls have told right out about their father’s abuse and showed on their small brother how their father had masturbated while touching Eva’s genitals. Have also told that you get bookmarks after having been ’nice’ to their father in the disgusting toilet at his job.”

Of course a doctor has to support a patient he or she is treating. However, when there is a suspected crime involved,  the professions must be very careful not to mix up the treatment function with the investigative function that must try to find out what actually has happened.

The support Ann was given for her suspicions that a crime had occurred, when first the BUP chief physician and then the attorney accepted Ann’s vague suspicions as serious are an important part of the origin of the accusation against Per for incest. If Ann had not received this immediate support, she could not have proceeded and subsequently also get the support from the police and the social welfare officers.

What Eva (and Lena) have said and demonstrated and which is documented does not, however, support mother Ann’s accusations against her former husband Per. Nor have any other person’s observations nor any journal entries or doctor certificates supported the report that Per should have sexually abused his daughters in any way. On the contrary, the child-minder’s observations, as well as journal entries about information the mother has submitted to police and other contradict the accusation.

The statement analysis shows that neither Eva nor Lena says or demonstrates anything that can be interpreted as being descriptions of any sexual relationships they have participated in.

In the police interviews and in the transcriptions of the mother’s tape recordings made by the police and the investigating BUP psychologist, Eva has been misunderstood and misinterpreted.  What Eva has said is that she has touched her father’s penis, something both the father and the mother have said both Eva and Lena did when they were bathing.

After completion of the assignment to investigate the origin of the ”Eva Andersson’s report that Per Andersson has carried out sexual actions on her that have the nature of sexual relationship”, the conclusion is that there is no information about anything like that from Eva herself. What there are are misunderstandings and misinterpretations of what Eva has said and demonstrated, as well as information about actions suggesting sexual relationship reported by the mother Ann. She has persuaded her daughters to make certain statements on tape regarding their daddy, ”willie” and ”front bottom” that give a stereotypic and confused impression lacking concrete content.

There is no support in the material for the main hypothesis that the information about sexual relationship can be interpreted as having its origin in actual abuse that Eva has experienced and related.

Where then do the accusations come from? [It seems) that Ann, influenced by her mother’s stated suspicions regarding her former son-in-law, has developed the accusations against Per further and persuaded personnel at BUP, the police and the social welfare authority to accept and support her fabrication. They have also helped develop the concoction further, including by not examining her accusations critically.

From the material it is possible to see how Ann has consistently manipulated in order to support her fabricated image of Per as a committer of incest. It is possible to read in the BUP journals how Ann gives twisted information, stating such things as that Eva didn’t feel well because her [paternal] grandmother had visited or that she had had a real fit at the kindergarten and been ”inconsolable” because she had found out that her little brother had met Per, something the mother had obviously not told her daughters. On checking these reports it shows that, according to the contact person who was there at the time, Eva and Lena were very glad to meet their grandmother. And when interviewed by the police and by the social welfare officers, the kindergarten personnel have not reported any event similar to the one Ann reported to the BUP chief physician and which she had written in the journal (about Eva being inconsolable).

When it became clear that the indictment would not include Lena, Ann contacted BUP and reported that Lena had evacuation problems coupled to abuse from the father.

Ann’s fabricated accusation of incest against Per, a fabrication that is so effective that she seems to believe it herself, can derive from many, interlinked causes, including disappointment, hate, money worries, desire to be taken seriously and to be seen as the good, self-sacrificing mother just as she apparently was by BUP, the social welfare authority and the police.

If we study the possible economic incentives we’re not only talking about the possibility of getting large damage payments as the child-minder has reported Ann has said, but also about the daily situation. Since the social welfare authorities, together with BUP and the police, also believe that the children have been sexually abused by Per, Ann and the children have been able to continue to live in the new and expensive house.

The analysis shows that Ann has twisted reality. As has been pointed out, she has been skilful at getting others in her immediate surroundings to accept her picture and thus to create preconceptions. This in turn have controlled interpretations and actions on the part of various persons in authority, which in turn seems to have confirmed the mother’s picture of Per as a committer of incest.

In a supplementary statement, the BUP psychologist wrote:

”There is no information anywhere that suggests that the mother takes a negative position regarding the father in front of the children. Rather she talks about positive things.”

The way that the mother presses her children to say nasty things about their father on the audio tapes she herself records contradicts this conclusion. However, the most telling influence is not through what the adults say, but through what they do. Ann has consistently acted so that the children understand that she dislikes Per a lot, indeed she feels so strongly that she doesn’t think they should meet him, his mother or his sister, all of whom they have had close contact with. It is obvious that this is a very negative attitudinal influence by the mother, even if she may once have said that it may be that he ”is nice too”.

The question must be asked whether Ann through her actions hasn’t actually damaged her children through her efforts to have them appear sexually abused, through such actions as pressing them to repeat things she alleges their father has done, by taking them to various experts for evaluations and interviews and by teaching her children that the world is divided into dumb people, i.e. those who believe their daddy, and nice ones, i.e. those who ”know” that their daddy is lying.

Based on the fact that the analysis so clearly demonstrates that Ann exaggerates and/or twists the reality, she should be offered qualified, psycho-therapeutic help.

The guidelines for handling sexual abuse must be evaluated and at least include the possibility that an accusation is without basis in fact. The consultatory method can be useful when a co-ordinated effort is needed to protect children who truly have been beaten or sexually abused. However, suspicions and facts must be investigated without preconceptions, before taking any immediate or conclusive steps, such as separating children from their parents.

When an expert in a consultatory group takes a position there is a danger that this will influence the other experts. They may have known each other for a long time, such as in the X-city case. They perceive themselves as being part of a continuing education sequence where the experts should learn from each other whenever a child is thought to have been sexually abused.

It can all too easily be as in H.C. Andersen’s fairy tale about the emperor’s new clothes. The various experts study the case. The first has said that the emperor’s clothes are made of exquisite material/the first one says that the children should be kept away from their father. Those that follow agree that the cloth is exquisite/that the children should be kept from their father.

It was a child who revealed that the emperor was naked. If you listen to what Eva and Lena have said, their statement reveal that there has not existed and does not now exist any reason to prevent them from meeting their father.

Supplementary statement requested by the district attorney

The district attorney asked eight questions as a result of my expert statement. The district court decided on February 3, 1994, to request a supplementary statement by the author. Below are my answers to the questions from the district attorney, quoted in their entirety in italics.

1.Has Ann consciously submitted false statement that her children might have been sexually abused?

The expectations of those around her that Per had committed incest have continuously influenced Ann to submit such information as could support the picture of him having done that. The information often is neither probably or logical does not seem to worry Ann and this could suggest that she isn’t conscious of the fact that she is submitting false information. One example is her statement on March 23, 1993, a full year after the separation, that she had taken the girls for a physical examination on the request of the district attorney and that the doctor had ”said to her that the girls had broken blood vessels on their labia which could suggest external violence” and that Per ”during his manic period is capable of anything. Nothing is impossible for him.” (from the notes by the social welfare authority on March 23, 1993) In other words, according to Ann, Per is supposed to have sexually abused his girls so violently that this would be visible in the form of broken blood vessels on the labia when it gone a year since he had seen his daughters at all.

The possibility that Ann is mentally incompetent or ill has not been examined by the doctors or psychologists she been in contact with. That there is some such background to the fact that she unconsciously submits false information cannot be excluded.

However, most everything points to the fact that Ann consciously submits incorrect information about the fact that her children not only ”may have been sexually abused” as the district attorney question is phrased, but that according to Ann they actually have been. Below is an outline of Ann’s behaviour that supports this interpretation:

–     That Ann has wrongly informed the BUP chief physician that Lena has been under care at the Paediatric Reception on several occasions during the autumn 1991 for genital area infections (journal April 15, 1992).

–     That according to the extract from the interview on April 24, 1992, Ann has submitted completely different reasons for her suspicions to the police than what she had said nine days earlier to the BUP chief physician.

–     That according to journal entry dated June 9, 1992, Ann has reported an abuse sequence to a social welfare officer that has no similarity to anything that Eva has reported according to what has been documented.

–     That Ann recorded her four audio tapes with the girls and wrote down what she had reported that they had said at the time around the police interview with the girls and at the time around the time the BUP psychologist was finishing her report – not earlier and not later. In other words, Ann’s most aggressive activity coincides with the most intense investigation happenings. This suggests that she was trying to influence the investigators in order to affect an indictment.

–     That during the whole period since she lodged the police complaint against Per has acted as if she were more interested in punishing Per and being in the right herself, than in doing what could be the best for the children. Examples include her consistent opposition to letting Per see his girls together with a contact person and her stopping a nascent relationship between the girls and their [paternal] grandmother and sister in the summer 1993.

–     That Ann did not prepare her girls for a gynaecological examination until December 1992,  a little more than nine months after Per had moved. Had she been convinced that the children had been sexually abused by their father, she should have demanded a physical examination at the time she lodged her complaint.

–     That during the entire investigation Ann has submitted negative information about Per, as well as hints or direct stories about what she alleges that the girls have said, including information that the girls are afraid of their father. * No one has been found to support that claim. Rather has it been contradicted by such as the child-minder and later the kindergarten personnel when Per came and saw Lena in October 1992.

–     That Ann has submitted incorrect information about the girls’ physical problems. Examples include her claim to me that she had taken Eva to the Child Health Care Centre on several occasions in order to get ointment for her genital problems. This was not confirmed by journal entries there – Eva hasn’t been there at any time for such problems. As has been stated above, Ann has also said to the social welfare workers that broken blood vessels had been found on the labia of the girls during medical examinations, something that is not supported by journal entries or court certificates.

–     When it was clear to Ann that Lena would not be included in the indictment, acted and alleged that Lena felt very poorly, that according to Ann she had immense problems defecating and that she was afraid of her father. When Ann came to the hospital, there was nothing wrong with Lena according to the March and April 1993 journals at the Child Health Care Centre.

*That the girls say to Ann that they are afraid of their father can be their was of satisfying her since they have learned that this is what their mother wants them to say. If they say that their daddy is nasty, they get appreciation from their mother.

It isn’t surprising that Eva feels poorly. Ann herself has told how Eva has said that her daddy hasn’t done anything that it didn’t hurt. Ann has interpreted this to mean that Eva wanted to lighten the abuse Ann is convinced has happened. It is clear on several occasions that Eva misses her father and is at the same time loyal to her mother, who so clearly demonstrates that she doesn’t want Eva to meet her father, preferably never. How is a small child to handle this conflict? It has to be expressed in some way.

  1. Has Ann been influenced by the consultatory group? If so, how?

There are 14 persons in the consultatory group. Most of these have been directly involved in the Andersson case and have to varying degrees and in various ways influenced Ann. Influence is always a mutual process – it can be difficult to determine which is the chicken and which the egg. Below is a list of the member of the consultatory group and the ways they have had contact with the Andersson family:

Child Health Clinic                                      XX             Has treated all the Andersson children.

Did a physical examination of Eva and Lena, providing a court certificate.

Child Health Care Centre – BUP               XX             Investigating psychologist.

XX             Counsellor who received Ann’s call on  July 31, 1992, during which she told of the so-called diaper changing event.

XX             Chief physician who first talked with Ann – see below.

Gynaecological Clinic                                 XX             The gynaecologist who participated in the examination of Lena, January 1993.

Police                                                                XX             Interviewed the girls’ child-minder on the request of the father’s attorney.

XX             Interviewer for all other interviews.

Social Welfare Service                                 NN

NN

XX             Was first social welfare officer in the treatment unit and was informed on May 5, 1992, about Ann’s suspicion of sexual abuse and that it had been reported to the police. Also project leader.

NN

NN

XX             First social welfare officer after XX who according  to the social welfare authority’s journal had the first long talk with Ann on June 9, 1992.

District Attorney’s Office.                           XX             Has indicted Per.

The first member of the consultatory group to influence Ann was the BUP chief physician who in her first contact with the newly divorced Ann accepted her description of reality as a true – which it wasn’t. She deprived two small girls of their father without any investigation. Ann was encouraged not to leave the children with their ”biological father”. This can in part have influenced Ann to interrogate and interpret Eva and Lena in accord with a similar preconception that Per was ”dangerous” and in part can the support from the chief physician have provided Ann with the courage needed to push forward with the incest accusations which at this point the journal entries (April 15, 1992) seem only to have been hints.

The regular, so-called support talks that Ann has had with the BUP chief physician since the end of August 1992 can have influenced Ann to submit such information as would agree with the preconceptions this physician clearly had demonstrated as early as during her first meeting with Ann in mid-April 1992. Among her journal entries for that date is the following:

”The mother blames herself for not having though about this possibility earlier or for not having seen anything. At one occasion she had seen Lena touch her father’s penis and when he got an erection, she thought it was an isolated case.”

The next member of the consultatory groups to influence Ann was the social welfare officer who interviewed Ann nine days after her first visit to BUP. At that point he seemed entirely convinced that Ann was an ”incest mother”, something that can seen in his protocol of the interview (see statement).

If it was Ann who influenced the consultatory group member or the other way around cannot be read from the protocol from June 9, 1992. It is there that an abuse sequence described by Ann is rendered. What Eva is supposed to have said can also have been interpreted by this social welfare officer since she heard it from Ann and it can be the officer who has construed what she heard as an abuse sequence. If that is so, this social welfare officer has had an extremely strong influence not only on Ann, but also on the entire sequence that follows.

This social secretary can also have influenced Ann though the fact that she and other persons in both the treatment groups and the family rights group have supported Ann in preventing the children from seeing Per. They even stood ready to make a take the children into compulsory care according to LVU once the ban on visiting issued by the district attorney expired.

  1. Has Ann been influenced to submit incorrect information by another person If so, whom?

Because her mother and her husband live across the street, three houses down in X-löv, both Ann and her children have almost daily contact with her mother. Ann is consequently constantly influenced by them to believe that Per has committed incest, something the police have reported they do not hesitate to say that he has. Even to me on November 25, 1993, both of them expressed

It is possible that with Ann’s vulnerable situation, left wit three small children of which one was just born and with a very heavy economic load to carry in a newly built, heavily mortgaged house, has let herself be so strongly affected by her mother’s expressed suspicion of Per that she really comes to believe that he has abused their daughters in spite of the fact that she has never made any observation of such behaviour herself.

For another answer tied to this question, see point 4B below.

  1. Ann’s suspicions seem to have appeared over the course of one month:

 

Ann says that the event with Kalle and Eva, variously called the diaper changing event and the changing table event, happened 8-10 days after the separation or on March 15-16. Ann doesn’t mention her sexual abuse suspicions to the BUP chief physician and her attorney until April 15-16.

 

  1. It cannot be excluded that the summary written in the journal on April 15 by the BUP chief physician is in fact a neutral description of such matters as the event above. It is consequently possible that the event had already happened.
  2. It is probably not possible to determine whether Ann or her mother first voiced their suspicions. Ann say she was first (Prelim. Invest. Report. p. 14 ) while the mother’s information (ibid. p. 28) are unclear. In her first conversation with her attorney on March 16, Ann doesn’t say anything about suspicions of abuse. A month later when she speaks to him again, she does.

The police interview with he children is held about a month later.

  1. Is it possible to induce the children to tell about abuse or to teach them to submit the information they do provide in the space the time available?
  2. Especially in the light of the assertion (report p. 64) that Ann doesn’t seem to feel any such influence?

 

  1. Below is everything the BUP chief physician has written down about ”sexual abuse” during Ann’s visit on April 15, 1992.:

”The oldest daughter Eva has always been very close to her mother and has mostly been cared for by her biological mother, while Lena has been close to both parents. During the most recent days the mother has begun to believe that the biological father has abused his daughters sexually. Lena has had a genital area infection and been treated at the Paediatric Reception on a number of occasion in the autumn 1991. Eva has now begun to say that she doesn’t want to live with her father.” /…/

 

Ann ascribes decisive meaning to the diaper-changing event herself, in interviews with the police, with the investigating BUP psychologist and with me. She has said that it was after what Eva then did and said that Ann began to suspect that Per had abused the girls sexually. If this alleged event had happened before the first BUP visit it is very remarkable that Ann should not have reported the event to the BUP chief physician, an event which she herself aroused her suspicions.

The event in question ought to be the so-called diaper changing event mentioned in the BUP journal on July 31, 1992, or long after the first visit on April 15! It is the counsellor who talked with Ann on the phone. She writes that Ann:

/…/ ”says that the girls after the fact talk out clearly about their father’s abuse and have shown on their little brother how he masturbated while he touched Eva’s genitals.”

If this event had happened between March 13-15, 1992, as Ann has said why didn’t she mention it on March 16 when she spoke to her attorney about sharing custody with Per. It doesn’t fit. Most of the evidence suggests that the event has never happened but if a construction after the fact. This is suggested in part by the stereotypical way that Ann repeats it, while she forgets certain central details (see report).

 

  1. Page 14 of the preliminary investigation report does not show that Ann had suspected Per prior to her mother’s doing so. Rather the reverse. It is a quote of what Ann relates from hearsay as having heard her mother tell of an event that is supposed to have happened in mid-February 1992 when she wasn’t home herself. Ann reports that she had been to X-city and that her mother had been home in their new house in order help hang curtains. Eva had started to howl in the house with her father, her grandmother and Eva. The police quote says:

”Eva calmed down later when her mother had come home. Later her mother told Ann that she had the feeling she had discovered Per in something unsuitable.”

 

Ann’s mother has described this event in a wholly different way according to the police interview protocol. She has said that Ann was at home and that Ann anticipated her mother when they heard the girls ”crying and howling”. Supposedly Ann tried to open the bathroom door where Per had taken the girls to wash them for the night:

”When she took hold of the door she discovered it was locked. After a while Per opened it and the girls ran out, greatly excited. The girl’s grandmother got the impression that Per sat on the floor. A moment later he came out and reproached Ann for ’getting involved’ when he was to take care of the children. After that he went out into the garage and stayed there a long while. He didn’t come in again until Ann’s mother and her husband had left.”

 

The possibility that abuse could have occurred is insinuated by the formulation that Ann’s mother only later ”had the feeling she had discovered Per in something unsuitable” and she ”got the impression that Per sat on the floor”.

After that come the very clear information from Ann’s mother stating that it was she who first expressed the incest suspicions regarding Per.

”In March this year after Per had moved out of the house, Ann’s mother talked to Ann the first time about what she had seen and suspected. At that moment the situation was such that Ann’s mother could no longer carry her suspicions herself, but felt it necessary to discuss her suspicions with Ann. Ann didn’t comment what she heard very much, rather being affected by what her mother related. However, Ann has returned to the matter later and they have talked a lot about their suspicions.”

This clearly established that it was Ann’s mother who first expressed the incest suspicions against Per and that she has talked with Ann about these suspicions often thereafter.

 

  1. Neither Eva nor Lena talk about any abuse. Nor do they provide any information that can be interpreted as their having been exposed to any abuse, be it in the police interviews, the tapes recorded by the mother, in the interviews with the two investigating BUP psychologists or in talks with me. (see report)
  1. The fact that Ann doesn’t believe that she has influenced her daughters because she doesn’t know that she has does not mean that she hasn’t influenced them. She, as do all parents and adults in a child’s world, are constantly influencing through their manner of acting and reacting, of showing feelings and expectations, of speaking, be it with words or with the body. In Ann’s case we know that she and her mother (and stepfather) have consistently influenced Eva and Lena into dividing the world into nasty people, i.e. those who believe in daddy, and nice ones, i.e. those who believe in their mother. (see report)

That young children are very impressionable and open to suggestion has been shown in repeated, complex experiments carried out by the American researcher Stephen Ceci, whose results were reported in connection with the much discussed TV documentary about the accusations of sexual abuse at the daycare centre Little Rascals in Edenton, North Carolina, as well as elsewhere.

  1. During the police interview Lena is encouraged to tell how it went when she touched her father’s penis. She is given the opportunity to demonstrate using a thick, black felt-tip (see report, p. 16). After Lena had placed the pen between her spread legs, she says ”daddy sat like this and then I jumped”. Lena ought to have had a large number of alternatives for how she could have used the pen. Why shouldn’t we believe her demonstration?

It’s Eva, not Lena, who is asked during the first police interview to tell what happened when she touched her daddy’s penis. By then the interviewer had repeated five times that Eva had touched her daddy’s penis. When he then takes a thick black pen and says ”let’s pretend that this is daddy’s willie” and asks her to show what she did, he probably expects that she would make some kind of motions with the pen. For the then four year old Eva  having just happily told that she had touched her father’s penis it seems natural  to put the pen/her daddy’s ’willie’ where it was on him when she touched it, that is between the legs. She says happily ”daddy sat like this and then I jumped”. This is followed by the matter-of-fact statement by Eva that ”and then daddy had balls” and proceeds to ask the policeman about his male attributes. In other words, Eva demonstrates by her undramatic, happy and curious way of talking and showing that she is not talking about some abuse event, but that her daddy has a ’willie’ and that it sat between the legs and in addition she knows there are balls as well. She also knows that other males probably also have ’willies’ and ’balls’.

The interviewer, with 10 years experience of incest cases, shows through his leading questions (that also serve as a form of training) that he is convinced that Eva has been sexually abused by her father. Perhaps this is so because he, just as other investigators and professional helpers have been hearing for 10 years now that incest and sexual abuse of children is more common than one believes. The interviewer believes that Eva demonstrates abuse, but there is nothing to suggest that her father has abused Eva. (see report)

  1. The interviewer asks Lena if her father’s penis has been somewhere else than on her ’front bottom’ and continues by encouraging her to point. Can this question be understood in any other way than that the answer should be a part of the body? In spite of this L answers that ”it was at daddy’s job”. How should this be interpreted? (reported in the report, pp 22-23)

 

For an adult with sexual experience it seems obvious that the expected answer is a part of the body, as the district attorney writes. But for four year old Eva (not Lena) the interviewers question about if her daddy’s ’willie’ has been somewhere else than on her ’front bottom’ seem incomprehensible, especially since Eva hasn’t shown that her daddy’s penis has been in her genital area. The interviewer nags Eva with ”where?” and wants her to point. Eva says ”I don’t know” and draws. Then the interviewer says with great expectation in his voice ”First point to where else it has been, then you can draw”.

As I have pointed out above and in my report, Eva’s answer ”it was at daddy’s job” shows that she hasn’t understood the question. In all likelihood she is trying to stop the nagging and to get help with drawing her letters, as well as to satisfy the interviewer’s strongly expressed expectations, by answering something from what she has heard the interviewer say earlier, namely that something had happened at her father’s job.

  1. On page 32 of the report you say ”Neither is it likely that as a two year old she can remember”. Please provide scientific proof for the statement.

Few persons have suggested in psychological literature that we begin to remember in the sense that we can describe details from settings where we have been in words before we are around three years old. And it is oral descriptions we are talking about here. This is in part tied to human cognitive development. Concepts and linguistic nomenclature has not yet developed in a two-year-old. However, a two-year-old will repeat, just as Lena does, what she has heard or hears from others. In the interview with the BUP psychologist (p. 30 f.) it is clear that Lena has heard other’s talk about a ”disgusting toilet” and a ”nice toilet”. When the psychologist asks what they did in the disgusting toilet, Lena answers that ”we played Emil and Ida on the nice toilet”.

Lena’s answers to the psychologist demonstrate throughout that she is not talking about what she remembers in relation to any specific settings or events. When Lena is asked questions about whether she has been in a sauna with her father and how that was, she talks about a brush and that a lion came.

Lena demonstrates very clearly that she is not talking about anything she remembers in her statement that her father hits them when they are visiting at his house. We know this because they have never been to his house.

  1. On page 49 of the report it states that it is incontrovertible that Eva says she has kelat with her father’s penis. The subsequent demonstration shows that kela means hug. Isn’t this an abuse situation?

Both Ann and Per have related without describing the events as abuse that Lena and Eva have touched Per’s penis when the whole family was bathing together. The family seems to have had an relaxed attitude towards nudity and, according to Per and Ann’s mother, it seems that Ann even wanted Eva to have knowledge about reproduction long before she was mature enough to understand the meaning and context. When Eva then hugs the doll she has gotten from her father when I ask her to kela with it and that she clearly states to the police that she has kelat with her father’s penis, it cannot be interpreted that she thereby describes an abuse event. What would be the abuse in that event? Nothing suggests that Eva has been forced to do something against her will or that she has felt violated. She tells straight and positively about the fact that she has kelat with her daddy’s ’willie’. In other words, Eva describes the same things as her parents when she says she has touched her daddy’s ’willie’, as opposed to some abuse situation (see the report for further information). She uses the word kela, perhaps because she remembers that she took a hold of it. The word itself has no sexual connotation for Eva, her mother or the child-minder, both of whom also use it.

Since the 1983 SIFO (Swedish Institute for Opinion Research) poll regarding sexual abuse requested by the Swedish ’Save the Children’ organisation, the definition of sexual abuse has been very broad.

Postscript

After my investigation and the supplementary answers, the district attorney decided to dismiss the indictment. Per Andersson was acquitted. The judgement is dated March 11, 1994, and states:

”Conditions exist to hand down an acquittal.”

However, this has not meant that Per Andersson and his daughters can meet. The children’s mother have gotten support from the Social Welfare Authority and BUP in her efforts to deny the children’s father the opportunity to meet their father on the excuse that the girls are afraid of their father. It has not been possible to sort out why the staff has failed to allow him to have contact with his children, in spite of the formulation in the district attorney’s ban on visitation that the father should be able to see the girls in the presence of personnel from the social welfare service. According to a social welfare officer the reason lies in the approved procedures.

If none of the girls have been sexually abused by their father, who is it then who has ”anticipated/anticipates” and has ”exposed/exposes” the children to unacceptable influence such as the district court warned about in its decision regarding visitation and custody on December 21, 1993. I quote:

”In the situation in question, the district court does not feel it necessarily consistent with the children’s welfare to decide about a visitation the parents are unable to agree on and thus anticipate an evaluation of responsibility and a custody and visitation investigation which might subsequently be required. The interest in that the relationship between the children and their father be reconstituted as soon as possible will have to be seen as secondary to the consideration that the children not be exposed to inappropriate influence, direct or indirect, through a change in their situation.

As the analysis above has shown, it is Ann who has influenced her children and the question is if it shouldn’t be seen as inappropriate influence. To give small children a so black/white picture of the world around them as Eva and Lena have been given is not healthy for their continued development. The adults in their proximity, namely their mother and their grandparents, have taught them that all who believe in their father are nasty and all who believe in their mother are nice. With the support of and help from the experts who believe in her, their mother has acted to prevent the girls from meeting their father.

Psychiatric expertise has stated that the fear the girls hold of their father several years after the divorce is not related to the mother. At the request of the district court in 1995, a paediatric psychiatrist and chief physician evaluated the situation in connection with the custody and visitation hearing. His report dated January 13, 1995, states that following the separation, the girls have:

”have developed such a fear for their father that they signal discomfort and loathing both bodily and verbally whenever he is mentioned and they are experience an overwhelming panic in situations that can result in any kind of contact with him, such as being able to meet him.”

This chief physician describes in detail such a situation when he went with mother Ann to leave Kalle with his father for a visit and the girls became totally panic stricken:

”When the mother and I make it clear to the girls that they are to come along in the car when their mother is to turn over Kalle to their father for a coming visitation, rather than stay with their grandmother as usual, both Eva and Lena panic. Eva protests hysterically and Lena is deeply shocked. Their mother co-operates loyally and competently in trying to dedramatise the coming situation, but without effect.

When I help the mother to put the overall on Lena, something convinces both girls that this is really going to happen, Lena is so overwhelmed by panic that she fights wildly and looses all contact with her surroundings, just as Eva sits in her corner screaming monotonously also is out of contact. After ten minutes of such psycho-traumatisation, I discontinue the exercise in accord with those evaluation criteria which would have been in force had this concerned my presence as a paediatrician at a police pick-up for visitation. I then offer to stay with the girls while she takes the small boy to his father at the station. Speechless, shocked and tense the girls sit in separate corners of the sofa until their mother returns. Then they turn their backs to her and go off alone.”

When the chief physician wrote this, three years had passed since the girls had met their father. At that time they were just two and almost four years old and by now they were just five and almost seven. They had lived with their mother and their [maternal] grandparents who all clearly distanced themselves from the girls’ father. Even so, the chief physician whose words as the expert of the district court were extremely influential, stated that the girls’ extreme fear of their father, as well as their standing off from him, did not have its basis with the mother (see above and below):

”During my two visits in the mother’s home I felt that both Eva and Lena were generally mentally developed and healthy, but with a repudiation of their father and willingness to express loathing of his person. I did not experience that there was a gramophone-like or parroting behaviour in Eva’s way of expressing this. On the other hand, on the surface Lena seems not be as engaged in the matter and sometimes gives the impression of aping her big sister. There were absolutely no signs that the mother consciously directed the children’s behaviour and communication.”

In addition to the fact that the expert seems blinded by his one-sided position for the mother and his lack of knowledge of how influence works, he also ignores the acquittal judgement and says that there probably was sexual abuse after all:

”It is not sure whether sexual abuse has occurred or not and by it is impossible to arrive at any truth in this question. If the father is granted visitation rights, this ought to be joined with the required presence of some other person and limited to times when another person can be present in order to protect Eva and Lena against the possible risk of abuse. At the same time, this is a prerequisite for possible future attempts at providing the girls with a more positive attitude and internal picture of their father.”

The girls have not been allowed to meet their father for half their lives and will possibly be allowed to see him sometime in the future, if someone else is there since he might be dangerous. How they through this will be able to get a positive picture of their father is hard to understand.

Everything the expert has written has taken the mother’s side who, if the expert’s own descriptions are reliable, has caused the girl’s to be terrified of their own father. She hasn’t taught them to repeat anything dumb about their father, but by her way of tying the girls to her and through her consistent distancing from him and his whole family, she has created a total repudiation and fear of him. This is exactly what the American psychiatrist Richard Gardner has described and calls the parental alienation syndrome.[4]

New accusations from Ann regarding the son after four years

In January 1996 when their son Kalle was almost four years old, Ann once more accused her former husband Per of sexual abuse, but this time of his son. However, Kalle was only a few days old when Ann and Per separated. After that he has only been able to see his son sporadically, with great effort and always with a contact person present. Per’s contact with his son had just begun to function when Ann’s accusation was made.

The relations with the son were interrupted for a few months, but have started up again. According to Per this was in much due to the fact that the contact person who has been present when Per has met Kalle, contradicted Ann’s accusation. Per has yet to be allowed to meet his daughters, in spite of a battle to do so that’s lasted for several years.

In the autumn 1996 or almost four years since Ann’s first unfounded accusations, Per’s attorney said that two persons from the social welfare service had understood what was written in my report. They accepted that Ann influences the children, prevents them from seeing their father and makes them afraid of him.

However, when the custody and visitation case was to be decided in the district court in X-stad in November 1996, the expert statement reported above was not admitted in evidence on the excuse that my expert assignment had been another than what was currently under consideration, that is it did not bear on the ”question of either parent’s suitability as guardian”.

This position seems hard to understand faced with the fact that the same parents have been investigated. Whether a case is a criminal one or a civil custodial battle doesn’t change the family history or the parent-child relationships that have been described, which is what ought to have formed an important basis for deciding what would be best for these children in the future.

[1] Following the criticism by attorney Per Haglund, the BUP psychologist explained that she had used the methods developed by Loftus and Trankell. The report by the BUP psychologist was translated to English by text analyst Max Scharnberg. Loftus then rejected the report in a negative statement. In a critical commentatary, Astrid Holgersson pointed out that the BUP psychologist had not used Trankell’s method in her investigation.

[2] Translator’s note: The Swedish words killa  with a hard ‘k’ and kela  with a ‘t’-sound as in ‘tion’ are hard to tell apart.

[3] LVU is an abbreviation of the law regarding special regulations for treatment of youth. According to this law children can be taken into compulsory custody against their own and their parents’ wishes, if ’because of abuse, improper exploitation, deficiency in care or some other condition in the home, there is an apparent risk to the health and development of the child.’

[4] Gardner: The Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Differentiation Between False and Genuine  Child  Sex  Abuse, 1987.

A typical case when the child is separated from the father

Chapter 8 in Lena Hellblom Sjögren´s book CHILDREN´S RIGHT TO FAMILY LIFE. 25 SWEDISH CASE STUDIES OF PARENTAL ALIENATION

 

The child is separated from his father and is influenced to reject him

In the most difficult child custody disputes an implacable hostility can be observed. What may be harder to spot, or grasp, is why such hostility develops. The reasons are, as with the cases in which the child is unjustifiably separated from his mother, diverse.
What is possible to observe is that the children involved are harmed. The focus is on what the involved authority figures usually call an adult conflict. Thus, the focus is not on the children’s needs and right to have a good and close contact with both their parents and their various family networks.

Within a fairly short time, the children are separated from their father and often prevented from meeting him, only hear negative things about him, and are strongly distanced from their father and everything associated with him.

Here, as in the chapter on children separated from their mothers, it concerns only the cases in which there was no factual basis for separating the child from the child’s father.

Case 9

In this particular case, I investigated the children’s best interests at the request of their father, who after several negative experiences with lawyers chose to be his own litigator. The father provided me with documentation on the case: investigations, reports, statements and submissions made to the Court by the mother’s counsel and from his former attorneys as well as documents from the father. I then attended the court hearing in the district court, and gave testimony.

Mac, Mick and Mica

The district court awarded the father sole custody*

Background

Mac was born in 1995, Mick in 1998 and Mica in 2003. Their father is from the United States, their mother from Sweden. The father has dual citizenship, as well as the children. The parents met abroad and had lived on several occasions in the United States, such as when the mother got a job there. Both parents have higher academic education. Their oldest son was born in the United States, the other two in Sweden.

The father looked for housing and at schools during late summer 2004 for the oldest boys in the United States, after the parents jointly decided to move there. In July 2004 the father, who was in the United States and preparing forthe family’s relocation there, received the following text message from the mother:

The kids miss you and can’t wait to see you again. I also think that they are quite excited about the US. Love you and have a great day!”

In October 2004, when the youngest son was nearly a year old, the parents moved into a house they had agreed to rent for a year in the father’s hometown in the U.S., where the children’s grandfather and other relatives lived. Their furniture and other household items arrived soon after.

The mother signed a one-year contract at the nearby gym on November 15, 2004.

 

 

Sudden breakup from the father and the United States

Just before the move to the United States, the mother had signed a contract for a new job in Sweden – at the same time she was collecting maternity leave from another job in Sweden. The father criticized the mother for this duplicity, and they began to quarrel and fight.

Suddenly, a month before Christmas in 2004, the mother said that she wanted a divorce.

The mother called for her aunt from Sweden, and with her help took the three boys back to Sweden on December 12, 2004.

It was a sudden and unexpected departure, not least for the two oldest children who had started in their new school in the U.S. and had begun to make new friends.

The father had to remain in the U.S. and arrange for disenrollment of the children from school, termination of the house lease, sale of the car they had bought, storage of their furniture that had arrived from Sweden, cancellation of the mother’s gym contract, etc.

After that he was to return to Sweden and share in the parenting as before. That was what the father planned for. But not the children’s mother, as it turned out.
 

 

The mother claims a risk of abduction

 The mother filed for divorce and sole custody. The mother’s attorney stated when she wrote to the district court in January 2005:

“The return trip took place under chaotic conditions, with a police escort because the father and his relatives constantly threatened the mother and the children.”

Had the father threatened the mother and children? No. The mother had told the police at the airport that she expected the children’s father would cause trouble and therefore requested protection. Three police officers were assigned to the mission. Nothing happened, according to the police report. But the mother’s behavior and the presence of the police officers she requested conveyed to the children that their father was dangerous.

On January 19, 2005, five weeks after the mother’s departure with the children from the United States, the mother’s attorney asked that the district court award the mother sole custody.

The following description was given:

“The father has threatened to take the children with him to the United States. He is currently reported to be in Sweden. The older children are terrified of their father and do not want under any circumstances to move to the USA. The father has been in telephone contact with the school, which caused the teachers to more or less set guards outside the classroom in order to prevent an abduction. The boy of six years needs professional help to get over the fear he feels, and when the boy of nineears came home from school the other day, his condition was very serious because of fear.”

 

On January 19, 2005, when the mother’s lawyer wrote this, only five weeks had passed since the mother took the boys with her from the U.S., where the parents had jointly planned to stay with the children for a year to begin with. During the five weeks that had passed the boys had not seen nor had contact with their father because he had not been told where they were. The mother had not enabled the boys to talk on the phone with their father.

The boys had thus been completely separated from their father for five weeks, while they had been told by their mother that their father would abduct them. The father had never “threatened to take the children with him to the United States.” That he would stage an “abduction” was something the mother said, and something she made ​​others around her believe, not least the children.

The father found out, by contacting the principal of the children’s old school in Sweden, that the boys had returned there. After the father wound up commitments in the United States, he found an apartment in Sweden in the same town his boys and their mother were living. He was prepared to continue to carry out his role in the joint custody of the children.

 

Social Service’s investigators documented what they purported to be the children’s will

When the social workers conducted an investigation concerning custody, residence and visitation at the request of the district court, they wrote that the children “clearly express a will that they can justify.” They wrote:

“The children live with their mother and our assessment is that the mother can give herchildren good care, security, and love.”

“In talking to the oldest boys, they state at all times we have met them that they do not want to be with their father, that he is stupid and pinches. They have not been able to say anything positive about their father. ”

“Our impression when we met the children with their father is that they were very angry and disappointed at him. We have not ever considered them as afraid.”

“They have taken a position where dad is thoroughly bad and mom is all good. We have the impression that it is very important for them to retain their position.”

 

The question, What/who had brought the boys to totally reject their father after five weeks without contact with him, was not asked by the investigators.

The social workers concluded:

“The positions in the family in the current situation are too locked for visitation to be good for the boys. The boys need help to work through their anger. They also expressed that dad beats them …

The interest of getting visitation going must not go before the interest of protecting the children from suffering harm.”

 

The social workers had also noted that the children’s mother:

“stands passive when the children insult their father, and even on some occasions physically attack him with various objects.”

 

Comment

In the observations the social workers communicate, they demonstrate that they do not understand the portion of the adverse impact the mother had through her own repudiation, and thus how she influenced the children to also distance themselves from the father and reject him.

 

 

The mother reported abuse, the criminal investigation was closed

After the spring 2005 decision by the district court to allow summer visitation for two-week periods, the boys were able to see their father. The eldest boy had an epileptic seizure during the first of these visits. When the boys returned to their mother after having been with their father, the mother reported the father to the police for suspected abuse of the boys while they had been with him, referring to the epileptic seizure.

The father was interrogated by police on July 19, 2005 concerning the mother’s allegations that the father abused of the eldest boy. In the transcript of the hearing it states:

“He says that none of what the mother has said has happened, the mother is lying to get custody of the children. The father says that the mother has done a lot against him, beating and kicking him for a long time.”

“The mother refuses to leave the children with their father. When the father calls,the mother saysthat they do not want totalk to him.The father says that they do not get to talk to him because of the mother. ”

 

On October 24, 2005, the father received a ”Notification of prosecutorial decision”

“The preliminary investigation, regarding the mother’s reported abuse of the boys 2005-06-12–2005-06-26, is now closed.”

 

 

No contact between the children and their father

On November 17, 2005 the father filed for enforcement through an attorney, because he was not allowed to see his children in accordance with the district court’s judgment. The mother’s attorney replied, asking the Court decide on “mediation under Chapter 21. § 2 FB”. The lawyer mentioned that the mother “considers the ISS (International Social Service) biased” and that “she only wants help from X” (the name of an aid organization that she knew).

A mediator from the aid organization the mother wanted was appointed, and he wrote in his report on December 31, 2005 to the court:

”A core problem is that it is difficult to get the oldest boys to agree to meet their father, and when they meet him, they behave badly towards him.”

 

A “Statement of contact person´s interaction in visitation between the father and the children” was written by a social worker, at the request of the mother’s lawyer, and from this statement is quoted below:

“The mother is of the opinion at she cannot let the children meet the father in accordance with the decision.”

“She is of the opinion that the children cannot manage this based on their statements and reactions.”

“She wants the visitation to take place for 2 hours and in the presence of contact persons throughout the entire visitation.”

“The father maintains that interaction must take place according to the decision of the district court.”

“The mother believes that visitation can work if the children are provided safe circumstances.”

“The mother insists hat the contact persons must be present during the entire visitation since the two oldest children show strong concern for visitation with their father, and they have expressed that they do not want to be alone with him, according to their mother.”

“The mother is of the opinion that the children are not capable of having visitation which, from the beginning, lasts for nine hours.”

“In order for further and sustainable visitation to work, she considers two hours may be reasonable in light of the children’s reactions and given that the children have not seen their father since October 2005.”

“A third opportunity for visitation is scheduled for Sunday 5/13 and the father accepts that the visitation will last two hours. The mother is of the opinion that the children cannot handle a longer time. ”

“The second oldest boy expresses to the contact persons that he wants a guarantee that he can call his mother during the visitation if he is to meet with his father.

…He wants to be sure that he only has to meet dad for five minutes. The contact person promises the boy this because it is the only way to get him to come to the visitation.”

 

 Comment

From these official sources we can see that the mother has made the boys dependent on her and that she wants to have total control over them, and that she makes them reject their father.

 

The mother also controls the professionals by manipulating them through the children; the contact person promises the boy that he only “needs to see dad for five minutes because that is the only way to get him to come to the visitation.”

 

The mother filed for sole custody in November 2006, and for the children’s visitation with their father to be in the presence of a contact person. Nor was this was possible to realize, with the exception of the youngest child, because the children at that time rejected their father very forcefully. Time was allowed to pass, without the boys getting outside help to facilitate contact with their father.

 

The father wrote in spring 2007, in his notes prior to the district court hearing on custody, residence and contact:

“The oldest son was born in the USA and all the children have lived there. The children are as much American as they are Swedish, yet they have in the past 2.5 years almost completely lost this connection, and inexplicably they now openly despise the USA and everything American. Allowing the mother to selfishly take away that aspect of their existence is as much a crime as it would be to deprive them of their Swedish heritage.”

 

 

The district court awarded the father sole custody in May 2007

 “Judgment

The father is awarded sole custody of the parties’ children (the three children’s names and dates of birth).

The mother shall surrender the children’s U.S. passports to the father.

With the amendment of the district court’s interim decision of 9 March 2007, what is mandated under 1 also applies for the time until the district court’s judgment becomes legally binding pending appeal.

 Grounds

It is undeniable that since the separation in 2004 the father has only been allowed to meet his children to a very small extent, and often in the presence of a third party, or while the children are in close telephone contact with the mother. It is in view of the age of the children almost incomprehensible that it has not been possible to achieve a reasonably normal visitation between father and children. The responsibility for this rests much on the resident parent, the mother. The children today seem to have a very negative image of their father. That there would be factual basis for this has not emerged in the case. The district court cannot see any other possibility to establish the relationship between the children and the father than to award the father sole custody of the children. The district court implies that the mother, after a transition period when the relationship between father and child is established, will be given generous visitation rights.”

 

 

From the district court’s ruling:

“The mother has argued that the father is an unfit guardian. The father’s claim that the mother influences the children to reject him (parental alienation syndrome, PAS), is of course also an allegation of unfitness – at least temporarily – on her side.

For the most part it seems to be that he wants to take away her control over the children.”

 

A juror dissented, advocating joint custody and alternate residence. The Chairman also dissented, favoring sole custody to the mother, residence for the children with the mother, and the right of visitation for the kids with their father two hours every other weekend in the presence of a contact person designated by the social welfare department.

 

Comment

The district court made in its judgment several important observations that show that the majority of the district court’s members had understood that the children in this case were suffering; the district court pointed out that there was no factual basis to take the children away from their father, and that the only reason the mother had to separate the children from the father was her need for self-control over the children. This is a common feature for the parents who alienate children from the other parent.

 

The district court judgment was not upheld
Directly after the verdict, the mother picked the kids up from school and went underground. The father reported the missing children to the police, with no results.

On the same day of the district court’s judgment the children’s mother’s lawyer – who was a former police chief in the region – filed an appeal with the following claim:

“The mother motions that the Appeals Court, amending the district court’s judgment, grants her sole custody of the children. She further motions that the children’s passports shall not be released. These claims are to be awarded provisionally.

 

The BUP /Child Psychiatric Clinic/ doctor replied that there was no indication that any of the children had ever been registered as a patient at BUP (as the mother had clamed). Even after checking and confirming with the BUP’s special unit, it was not possible to obtain confirmation of this information sent to the court by the mother’s lawyer.

Two days after the verdict the children’s mother’s lawyer returned to the appellate court with the following claim:

“The mother motions that the court of appeals immediately decide on inhibition of the district court’s judgment NNNN T-06.”

 

The next day the mother’s lawyer sent yet an additional request:

“The mother requests that the court of appeals interlocutory decides that the parties’ joint children shall have visitation rights with their father two hours every other week in the presence of contact persons from X (the same aid unit the mother suggested and pushed through for mediation).”

 

The court of appeals approved on that day, according to their protocol, to what the mother’s attorney, the former police chief, had applied for in her supplementary application, and to her appeal two days earlier, to have the district court judgment suspended (inhibition):

“The court of appeals finds that there is reason to immediately decide that the district court’s judgment will until further notice not be enforced. The court of appeals approves as a result of this the motion of provisional suspension.”
In the afternoon the same day, after this decision, the mother’s lawyer wrote in a letter to the children’s father:

“Why do you focus so much on your rights instead of trying to build a relationship with the children?”

 

Comment

Was it possible for the father to build up a relationship with the children when the mother withheld the children from contact with him, even after he was awarded sole custody of the children? Without any penalties and with the support of social services? It was the children’s right to have a good and close contact with their dad.

 

The father moved back to the U.S. in December 2007. However, after he had moved, he was accused by the children’s mother of pursuing her and the children, and was labeled a “stalker”, which the mother alleged as grounds to grant her and the children a protected address.

 

 

The father’s letter to the court of appeals before the scheduled hearing

The father wrote a long letter to the court of appeals on April 15, 2008, and I quote:

“My children are losing a war in which their basic human right to know and love both parents has been systematically, purposely and maliciously taken away from them by their mother. Moreover, no one, including the court of appeals, has worked actively to protect them.

It will soon be three and a half years of a struggle in vain. I still remember my children at the age when their mother took them from me and intensified her campaign of manipulation and alienation. In some ways, it’s as if time has stood still, and I remember them as they were in December 2004, when this hell on earth began. They were only 1, 6 and 9 back then. Now, they are 4, 9 and 12, and those happy images and memories of a life past are fading fast, perhaps as a protection mechanism or just because of the time that has elapsed. If this is true for me, it is certainly true for my boys as well. Now, I am torn between keeping a losing battle alive and finding a way to minimize the pain and “move on” with my life.

I have decided to voluntarily give up custody. My mantra in the district court, which overwhelmingly granted me sole custody in order to protect the welfare and rights of three boys, was – and still is – as follows:

First, that my three boys have the basic human right to a relationship with BOTH parents, as defined by the Geneva Convention.

Second, should the court not choose to protect the children’s rights, or should the court’s will continue to be ignored /sabotaged by the children’s mother, that her actions, behavior and the resulting harm to the children be thoroughly documented. Documentation and evidence. This is NOT a matter of opinion!

This conflict has never been about being “right” or exacting revenge, at least from my perspective. I quickly realized that keeping three children from their mother was not within my rights, or in anyone’s best interest. Depriving children a mother they love would clearly harm them; at the very least, it would create resentment against their father further down the road. It is plain as day to me: children need BOTH their parents.  It’s part of who they are!”

 

 

The mother received protected identity for herself and the children

The court of appeals decided in June 2008 that the mother would have provisional sole custody. The mother applied for protected identity status for the children. This is what the mother wrote, in her application to the Swedish Taxation Office, about the protected identity status also being applicable to the children:

“To begin with, I wish to extend the protected identity status that I already have. Since I did not want to ask for protected identity status of the children earlier (due to the ongoing custody battle), nor have I been able to move, I now request protected identity status on the children. I refer to the following reasons: See previous attachment from Victim Support where my ex-husband is described by the police as a “stalker”.
We also want to feel safe in our new home. We hope that this will help contribute to live in peace and quiet. ”

 

The police authority in the county where the mother’s attorney, as mentioned previously, held a managerial position, endorsed the mother’s request.

 

 

The decision from the court of appeals in March 2009

The father claimed in the spring of 2009, when the appellate court  hearing for a final decision approached, and more than four years after the mother suddenly separated all three children from his father, that the children should:

“be granted visitation with him, four consecutive weeks during the summer, or alternatively, three consecutive weeks during the summer and one week during the Christmas and New Year holidays.”

 

The mother:

“objects to the claim for visitation. She has, provided the father comes to Sweden, conceded to visitation in accordance with the court of appeals interlocutory decision of July 27, 2007 (2 hours of visitation with contact persons every other weekend, my note.) but objects that visitation can occur in the United States.”

 

The court of appeals’ judgment was that:

“… the children should have the right to visitation with the father through either a telephone call or other form of telecommunication once a week.”

 

The court of appeals’ opinion referred to the following:

”It is also clear that it is essential for the children’s well-being that visitation between them and the father be carried out with the utmost care, and that the oldest boys have strongly expressed that they do not want to see their father.
… 
It also cannot be considered compatible with the best interests of the children that a presumption for contact between the father and the sons is that the children against their will meet their father.

Given the father’s claim that the mother shall report to him about the children’s health, education, and important events and activities once a month, the court of appeals notes that it is already required of the mother as sole guardian to, according to Chapter 6. 15 § of the Parental Code, provide information about all three sons which can promote interaction between him and the children, and thus nothing of the kind should be granted in this verdict. ”

 

Comment

The children have not had any contact at all with their father, with the exception of one very short telephone call per week, monitored and controlled by the mother. No reports of his children’s health condition, schooling, and important events and activities have been received by the father from the children’s mother, or from the school.

The father wrote to his former lawyer in April 2010 of his lack of contact with his children:

“I cannot write to them, send packages, get school pictures etc. I have a short telephone once a week monitored by the children’s mother, and my children do not give me a single detail of how they are, as they have been instructed. It is a pitiful relationship and harmful to my children.”

 

The father’s wording that it harms the children to lose one of their parents, in this case their father, is supported by the available research.

These children have lost their father and all of their relatives on their father’s side in the United States, and hence half of their identity and important family roots. What has occurred implies both a violation of the child’s legal and human rights.

 

 

Comment in relation to this type of case

In this type of case the argument is used, which is also used in the case of children separated from their mother, that the child needs peace and quiet. The child that is abducted/separated from their father by their mother and therefore has lived with their mother for a longer time, is expected to do best by being left in peace and quiet with their mother, and not be forced to move from er.

In three cases, the Court has concluded that the parent, who in action demonstrated understanding of the child’s need for close and regular contact with both parents, should be granted sole custody. Reality has shown, however, that these judgments need not be complied with. Only in one case was the judgment upheld, but with continued allegations from the mother’s side and the lingering impact of turning the children against their father. In all five cases, the separating mothers revealed that they considered contact for their children and their fathers as unnecessary.

 

That the mother has separated the children from their home, father, relatives on their father’s side, and daycare/school is a historical fact, which has not been considered in the social services/family law judgment. This implies that the parent, who continues to disregard laws, court orders, or the child’s best interests, has been supported to alienate the other parent.

 

Active and consistent measures to help children to be reunited with the parent they have been separated from, in this case the father, have not occurred.

The responsibility for authorities, under applicable law and human rights conventions, is foremost to ensure that children’s needs and rights are safeguarded, even if there has been a long break in the parent-child contact, and even if there has been sexual abuse allegations that have been dropped, according to judgments by the European Court of Human Rights.10 Thus, there is a positive obligation for the authorities to act to restore family ties, an obligation that has not at all been respected.
Footnote 10:

ECHR judgment of 23 September 2003 in the case Hansen v. Turkey, see Danelius comment SvJT 2003 Page 1019, where he writes “Nor had the authorities interfered with effective measures against the father when he at various times had kept the children and sought to make it more difficult for the mother to exercise her rights of access.”

In four judgments against Norway on 11 February 2003 including O v. Norway and Hammern v. Norway, the European Court said, according to Danelius SvJT 2003 Page 599, “that Article 6.2 of the Convention applies as a general rule; a defendant is acquitted, it is no longer permissible to question his innocence.”