Compensating the past
Redress for people who have suffered neglect in a foster home or other institution is a difficult issue. In some 20 western countries, abuse has been investigated and victims have often received official apologies. Researcher Johanna Sköld co-organised an international workshop where researchers compared various compensation models.
The participants included researchers from nine countries, representatives of client organisations and people who have grown up in orphanages or foster homes.
What questions did the discussions focus on?
We discussed in particular how financial compensation has been used in various countries to come to terms with the past and to give victims recognition – as well as what lessons we can learn from these processes. We concluded that there are three types of compensation. Firstly, a collective, where for instance everyone who has been at the same place is compensated. Secondly where an individual’s experiences of abuse determine if and how much compensation is due, and thirdly, funds from which victims can apply for support, including rehab.
Which type seems to work best?
It depends on who you mean it should work best for. At the workshop, several people pointed out that the collective model is less distressing for the sufferers, as they don’t need to retell traumatic memories that are subsequently assessed by someone else. Still, it’s difficult to apply the collective model to abuse in foster care, where many sufferers have been in completely different places and each story is unique.
Have these compensation cases fulfilled their purpose? Have victims received recognition?
Several financial redress schemes have failed, because the focus on the victims has been overshadowed by legal and bureaucratic processes. The workshop participants made clear the importance of client organisations and victims being involved in the design of the compensation processes. When we presented the Swedish compensation process, where 54 per cent of applicants were refused compensation, the international participants were shocked. No other financial redress scheme in the world has had such a high refusal rate.
How common is it in other countries, that sufferers who feel they deserve compensation are refused?
It’s a big problem in other countries as well. In Australia and the UK, where major investigations are underway, the focus is solely on sexual abuse, even though many children from orphanages and foster homes suffered many other forms of abuse. This fact is likely to influence the design of future financial redress schemes in these countries.
Footnote: The workshop “Compensating the Past” gathered some 25 participants and was held 10-11 November at the Museum of Work in Norrköping.
Text: Therese Ekstrand Amaya
Photo: Rebecka Cromdahl
28 Nov 2016
LiU researchers have joined international calls for a boycott of scientific conferences in the US.
Psychology students took on role of treaters in a study of perfectionism and internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy.
Social value creation is on the agendas of more and more companies and organisations. Erik Jannesson, senior lecturer in management control, has just published a book on the subject.
Rolf Holmqvist is one of 17 researchers who are critical to guidelines for the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Malin Thor Tureby was keynote speaker at an international conference on oral history.
Cats that meow with a dialect have caused a sensation in the world media. Robert Eklund, a linguist who works with cats at the Department of Culture and Communication, has lost count of the number of times the work has been reported in the media.
On 6 December, a Farewell Mingle was held for departing exchange students who have studied at Linköping University.
"We have a global and critical perspective that attracts today's students," says Stefan Jonsson, professor at REMESO, about the Faculty of Arts and Science’s first international master’s programme at REMESO in Norrköping - Ethnic and Migration Studies.
Achieving perfect health has become a religion in the western world, according to a newly published study. Barbro Wijma, professor emerita and physician with many years of experience meeting patients, views this development with dismay.
Skin colour matters, also in Sweden. But many people don’t accept that racism is a problem here – only in other countries. So claims doctoral student Victoria Kawesa, who writes about black feminism and whiteness in Sweden.
Johanna Sköld from Child Studies at Linköping University co-organised an international workshop where researchers compared various models of compensation for institutional neglect and abuse.
Anna Lindström and Monika Lopez of the Department of Culture and Communication applied earlier this year for funding for an initiative in an issue relating to refugees. The funding was granted, and the “Tomorrow’s Nobel laureates” project was born.
Suad Ali, expert on Sweden’s refugee quota, works tirelessly for refugees worldwide. For her dedication she has been chosen as one of Linköping University’s two Alumni of the Year.
Thomas Lunner’s research has given improved hearing to millions of people with impaired hearing. He has been chosen as one of this year’s Alumni of the Year.
Last updated: 2017-02-13