Skip to main content

tv   Our World  BBC News  August 5, 2018 3:30am-4:00am BST

3:30 am
there will be some showery rain at times through tuesday and wednesday but many places largely dry, particularly across northern england. head further south and east and, yes, we are hanging on to the sunshine but slowly you will start to see these temperatures starting to drop away. it stays dry but it will be turning cooler. bye— bye. for a north this is bbc news, the headlines: the venezuelan govenment says explosive drones were flown towards a military event attended by president maduro. shortly afterwards the president broadcast to the nation to say he was well and that neighbouring colombia's president was behind the attack. there has been no reponse so far from bogota. the former brazilian president, luiz lula da silva, has been nominated by his party to run in october's presidential
3:31 am
elections — despite serving a jail sentence for corruption. he's currently leading most opinion polls in brazil but it's uncertain whether the electoral court will allow him to stand. the us first lady has come out in support of basketball star lebronjames — a day after the president questioned the nba player's intelligence on twitter. james had criticised mr trump, calling him ‘divisive. melania trump issued a statement saying he is doing good things for our next generation. now in this week's edition of our world, tim whewell has been to norway to try to discover why child protection in the country appears to be in crisis. this programme contains descriptions of child abuse which you may find upsetting. norway. two years ago i came here to meet parents whose children had been taken away. they said the state was far too quick to put children into care without good reason. now i'm back and there is still more
3:32 am
anger in families torn apart. at one point i was thinking if i was mad, if i had in my madness harmed my family without really knowing it. and now one of norway's top child protection experts stands disgraced, forced to reveal a secret he had been hiding all his working life. if he had told a judge he had been downloading child pornography for all those years of course he would never have been appointed an expert. what does that mean for the troubled system he worked in? this expert reviews all the cases in the country, he was one of these people. he was one of these people in this commission? oh, my dear. i didn't know. cecilie runs every day in the woods
3:33 am
above her home in oslo. runs to calm herself, to forget. but she can't forget the day years ago that changed her life forever. when they came, i let my daughter open the door. it was two child protection experts. theirjob, to advise the authorities whether or not she could keep her child. i was very scared and i didn't want them in my house in the first place. i hadn't asked for them to come to my house and observe us together. norway's child protection service was worried about the little girl's development, but cecilie had rejected offers of help.
3:34 am
they thought she wasn't taking proper care of her daughter. so she took him up here? yeah, she took him up here. during their visit, the experts, a male psychiatrist and a female psychologist, scrutinised everything that happened. my daughter, she said, i think she said she was hungry, she wanted something to eat. but i had decided i would cook a meal later after the experts had left my house and so ijust offered her, would you like some chocolate, a chocolate cereal bar. and then the expert, he took that, he wrote in the report that probably i am only giving her chocolate cereal bars all the time for every meal. that is the only thing, that i don't know how to cook anything. so basically they misinterpreted everything? yeah, it was a distortion. then i noticed that the female
3:35 am
psychologist, she was looking really intently at my ceiling. she was going like this. and then she noticed, there is a cobweb there. then she wrote it down in the report like it was something really, you know? you can still see something there. like, to take it as proof that my house was messy. or that it was not cleaned properly, that it was not clean enough, up to their standards. when you saw the report, what did you think? when you saw what they had written? well, i didn't get the report until after the emergency care order. and then i realised that the report was very negative, that the recommendation was that my daughter had to be taken immediately.
3:36 am
cecilie‘s daughter was put into emergency foster carer and the decision was approved at oslo district court, where the experts appeared as witnesses. fast forward several years to april this year, and one of those two experts, the psychiatrist, reappeared in the same courthouse. this time, though, he wasn't in the witness stand. he was in the dock. i am not going to name him, for a reason i will come to later. but he is a man who played a key role notjust in cecilie‘s case, but in those of many otherfamilies here. it was a trial of one expert, but it raises wider questions about the whole norwegian
3:37 am
child protection system, a system that has been widely criticised for being too ready to take children away from their parents. hello, nice to meet you. the courtroom is over there? rune fardal is a veteran campaigner for the rights of families. so this is the courtroom and you came here to observe the trial? yes, i was sitting, actually, right here in this chair, for the whole trial. i should warn you. the details that follow are quite unpleasant. he already admitted doing this downloading of pornographic pictures of young boys. and the children in these images, how old were they? the majority, i think, were 10—14. but there were also very small babies. there was young boys having oral sex on each other and on grown—up men. there was rape. there was disabled children, every,
3:38 am
every fantasy you can think of in a bad way, was explained there. so he is looking at these pictures of children being abused and he is never, ever putting himself in the actual position of the children he is watching? no, he did not put it like that. he didn't see that as being a paedophile at all, looking at pictures of young children being misused by adults. in all, there were nearly 200,000 images of children. more than 4000 hours of video. in passing sentence, the judge notes that the accused confessed his own guilt.
3:39 am
but she adds this. "the court finds that the accused, to a certain extent, trivialises his own actions. the court furthermore sees it as serious that a professional who is supposed to be the protector of children and young people has placed his own satisfaction and desires first in this matter." the influence of that disgraced expert has been felt here, too, in a small town in the south of norway. hisjudgement has played a role in keeping this family divided for years. the largest family in the town, with eight children? eight children, that is a rarity here. because that would be the question people would ask us, which children are yours and which are your husband's and which are yourjoint children? and we were like... as well as being mother to eight children, inez is a local politician and layjudge. she thought of her home as loving, if lively, but five years ago four of her children were suddenly taken
3:40 am
away by child protection services, known as barnevernet. i got a phone call from someone telling me that i have to come home. the barnevernet has taken the children. and my husband has been arrested. your husband had been arrested? yes. it was so absurd. obviously it was a mistake. and then when i came there they said i was arrested. when the door to the cell was closed, that's when i realised what it meant. and it was so strange to find myself in the cell. and ijust remember being so scared. because this was madness. what is this, what is
3:41 am
happening in our country? there had been allegations of violence in the home. the father was soon released without charge, but inez was accused of smacking her children, which is outlawed in norway. one had said that i hit her and everybody said that my youngest son had been smacked, because he bites. i would hear our child crying out in pain and i would come running to help, and i would call out his name. and then i gave him a smack in order for him to let go of his sibling. but inez‘s explanations were rejected and herfour youngest children were put into foster care. well, at one point i was thinking if i was mad. if i had, in my madness, been doing things that i wasn't supposed to do. had i harmed my family
3:42 am
without really knowing it? that was my thoughts. just the thought of being very scared and frightened. in her battle to get the children back, to try to prove she's a good enough mother to them, inez is being helped by a lawyer victoria holmen. victoria believes there was a serious flaw in the case of inez. the problem was that every question was a leading question. and when you analyse the reports, what the children actually said, if it was counting up how many times did they say that my mother was using violence against me? zero. they never actually said, my mother was violent to me? no, zero.
3:43 am
inez was acquitted in a criminal trial of using violence against the children. two of her children were then returned. but the youngest are still in foster care, more than two years later. that is despite a report from two of norway's most respected psychologists which praised inez‘s parenting skills and recommended that the family be reunited. so why was the conclusion disregarded? because it was rubbished by two other child specialists from a supervisory body, norway's child expert commission. one of them was the now convicted and disgraced psychiatrist, who had played a key role in putting cecilie‘s child into care. this document is where it went wrong.
3:44 am
it is the conclusion from the expert commission and the problem for the commission is the report from the psychologists is too biased towards the parents. that's what they say. and this is actually from the psychiatrist who has now been convicted, he said that the psychologist report in this case were too biased towards the parents. yeah. the co—author of that allegedly biased report was reidar hjermann. he knows all about the disgraced expert. one of the most prominent child psychiatrists working in the child welfare system was convicted of downloading a very large amount of child pornography, what question marks does that raise over the system?
3:45 am
i would not say it has something to do with this system at all. you find rotten eggs in every basket and still people who have done bad things they also do things that are quite good and normal. this child expert commission reviews all of the cases in the country, he was one of those people. yeah, he was one of these people in this commission. oh my dear, i didn't know. there was an occasion in the case we were looking at ourselves where he criticised you personally and criticised your professional judgement very harshly. was that the same person? yes. he actually criticised your
3:46 am
professional opinion. yes he did. and i disagreed with this very much and i was quite angry when i received this and it makes me think, of course. if this is the same person, then... that is the same person. because what happened after this was that these children's case would of course be treated in the light of this comment on my report. interesting. very interesting. there has been no discussion of the wider implications of this case in the norwegian media, no shock or outrage in the newspapers,
3:47 am
no apologies or excuses or explanations offered by the authorities that employed the disgraced expert, and as far as i can discover there are no plans for a full review of the child protection decisions that he was involved in. the expert commission says it has looked through his reports and found no reason for concern. other child protection agencies i contacted won't comment on his conviction. but that won't satisfy families whose children were taken away, following his involvement in the cases. well, i would say that that expert, he is the one, he is responsible for taking my daughter away. and then it turns out that he himself has committed crimes against children and i guess
3:48 am
the thing what has happened is wrong. it does have very grave consequences on my life. in fact, the report that the convicted expert co—authored followed several years of concern by many health and social work professionals that cecilie had neglected her daughter and she rejected the charge, rejected too, the report's conclusion that the child potential development would be limited if she stayed with her mother. it is not valid. what he is saying is not valid. because? because of what he has done. he was hiding from the court, that he was breaking the law, you know? if he had told the judge, "yes and on my spare time, for 20 years i have been downloading child pornography, you know?" i mean, of course he would never have been appointed as an expert.
3:49 am
the child psychiartrist was convicted and sentenced to nearly two years in jail. so why has he not been named? because he himself is the father of young children, they are entitled to privacy in the authorities have already said they can stay with their father when he is released. that decision has surprised many parents and campaigners, though others say there is no reason for outrage. so this is the fjord that links us, goes across to sweden. thore langfeldt is norway's most famous sexologist. he was an independent expert witness in the case of the disgraced psychiatrist and he says all custody decisions should be based on evidence, not moral panic. we have lots of amounts of data showing that only a little part
3:50 am
of those who are downloading pictures of children are really offending children, so we cna't generalise there and we have no offending children, so we can't generalise there and we have no empirical data that can really show the clear link between it. between downloading pictures and actually physically abusing, yourself abusing children? yeah. of this is about the credibility of the system, isn't it? it is not really about one man, it is about the issue of the system that employed him. yeah, but what you mean about the system that employed him? they shouldn't have employed him, but they didn't know. they didn't know anything when they employed him. i mean, we cannot turn the clock backwards. what would happen is that there would be massive compensation claims. yes i think so. i think the system would collapse.
3:51 am
we wouldn't be able o handle it. we wouldn't be able to handle it. so it is better to sometimes say that a sleeping dog sleep. but families who have lost children are not prepared to do that. it is a tsunami of grief that his parents when things like this happen. child protection have finally holds inez they think she is a good enough mother. she hopes to get her youngest two back soon. she hasjoined the campaign for reform of the system, one that has includes many leading norweigan professionals in the field and parents. it is so easy to sweep things under the carpet when it is uncomfortable and i think, in regards to systems, when things are uncomfortable, things have to come up, it has to surface, it has to be fixed. because if we allow it to happen again and again and again. and it is so easy to dismiss the fact that it didn't happen to me, it is ok.
3:52 am
but what about the day when it happens to you, unless you are willing to help change something when it affects others. there has to be a willingness to that and there has to be a willingness to fix things so that it ensures people to trust the system. the government and the child protection service refused our requests for a comment on this case. they haven't been challenged hard over it within norway, perhaps because this is a society that tends overall, to trust the state. but parents increasingly don't. the ministry of children says legal safeguards for families are now
3:53 am
being strengthened, but norway's silent scandal can only shake their confidence in the system still further. i can remember my daughter as a very happy child, she was obviously very smiling, happy, she was living. i could never have imagined that this could have happened to someone like me. i had a very good relationship with my daughter. idid. and i will never really get her back. hello.
3:54 am
if you had the sunshine on saturday, there is more to come on sunday. like saturday though, there will be more cloud once again across northern ireland and scotland, and at times, that could bring some patchy rain, most will be dry though and for much of england and wales, there will be plenty of sunshine, as this area of high pressure continues to build. fairly clear skies overnight, some patchy mist and fog giving way to sunshine by day. this front to the far north—west always bringing more cloud to northern ireland and scotland. eventually some rain later in the day. but the lion's share of sunshine once again across england and wales. where we will see the highest temperatures getting close to 30
3:55 am
celcius for south—east england and east anglia. a cooler feel across scotland and northern ireland but still up to 21 celcius in belfast. for many, it's a fine evening on sunday. late spells of sunshine but i'm sure you can see the cloud and the rain starting to settle in across northern ireland and scotland and that will slowly continue to sink its way southwards overnight. temperatures up a little bit on the night, just gone 13 to 17 this is how we start the new working week. area of high pressure holding on across england and wales. maintaining that heat, that warmth, that sunshine, but further north and west, this front really making inroads. it's this front really making inroads. going to take it st across it's going to take it start to get across much of and wales. those that we will start to see a dip in temperature. further cloud and ran
3:56 am
for monday morning. some of that rank it into the far north of england through monday morning. elsewhere further south it will stay in dry and again plenty of sunshine. in fact temperatures even higher on monday. parts exceeding 30 celsius. quite some contrasts. that theme continues. when an northern ireland and the far north of england. it will be call with showery rain is. mainly places dry. we are hanging on to the sunshine but slowly he will start to see these temperatures start to see these temperatures start to see these temperatures start to drop away. it stays dry but it will be turning couloir. —— cooler. bye—bye. welcome to bbc news — broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is nkem ifejika. our top stories: the venezuelan government says
3:57 am
there's been an unsuccessful attack on president maduro — by drones, dropping explosives at a military parade. shortly after the attack, mr maduro told the nation he was well and that the president of neighbouring colombia was behind the attack. nominated from a cell — brazil's former president injailfor corruption, is chosen to make another run for the presidency. lebronjames gets the backing of the first lady hours after the president makes insulting remarks about the us basktball star.
3:58 am
3:59 am
4:00 am


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on