The father of a young robbery victim in Oslo has reacted angrily after learning that the young robbers responsible have since been taken to the local amusement park Tusenfryd as part of the authorities’ so-called “treatment program.”
Newspaper Aftenposten reported Thursday that police in Oslo have indicted 19 young men after they confessed to 25 robberies in the capital earlier this year. Ten of them who are under the age of 18 have been placed in the “treatment program” as an alternative to prison.
One of the older accused robbers was also allowed to join in on an amusement park outing, as have the parents of some of the confessed robbers. The pleasure trips have angered the father of at least one of their victims.
“I must say that I think it’s quite special to see that the robbers get rewarded with fun and trips to Tusenfryd, while our child who was robbed and had his sense of security destroyed is hardly taken seriously,” the father of a boy who was beaten, threatened and robbed told Aftenposten.
It’s not the first time that criminals are viewed as getting far better treatment than victims in Norway. Police have reported that the parents of young robbery victims have told them their children have been traumatized by the robberies and hardly dare to leave home anymore. One 12-year-old victim refused to go to school for a week, while a young girl no longer dares to take a bus after she was surrounded and threatened by a gang of young offenders. The victims’ parents claim their children have had little if any offers of assistance or follow-up from the authorities.
The robbers, however, who terrorized the Groruddalen area of Oslo early last summer, are now taking part in what’s called a tailor-made treatment program put together by the juvenile authority Barnevernet, the neighbourhood’s agency for youth and culture, the local health station and its unit for mental health, in cooperation with the city and the police.
Karen Margrete Grenstad of Barnevernet in the Stovner area of Groruddalen confirmed that several of the young robbers were treated to trips to Tusenfryd. “They need some positive experiences,” Grenstad told Aftenposten. “I can understand the father’s reaction, but this isn’t meant to be a reward for the robbers.”
Grenstad added that it’s been the authorities’ intention to also help the young victims, “but that assumes that their parents ask for the help themselves.”
‘We also make demands’
She stressed that the trips to Tusenfryd “are only part of the treatment program. We also make demands. They (the confessed robbers) must show up for meetings to discuss what they’ve done as part of our follow-up, and sometimes they must submit to a drug test.”
Grenstad said parents of the robbers have also taken part in the treatment program and their cooperation “has been positive.” Asked whether she thought the treatment program was working, Grenstad said that “we haven’t received any reports that any of them have taken part in more robberies, so we think it has been successful so far.”
Oslo continues to be plagued by a wave of robberies that has given the city the dubious disctinction of being “the robbery capital of Scandinavia.” Oslo police and city officials announced another series of measures to fight the crime wave on Wednesday, and the state justice ministry has offered more funding for police.