By Jan Simonsen & Marianne Haslev Skånland
One of Norway’s top child-protection policy experts, Jo Erik Brøyn, was sentenced to prison under the country’s child pornography laws. His arrest further discredits Norway’s Child Protection Services.
A child psychiatrist and top child protection expert, 56-year-old Jo Erik Brøyn, who in 2010 became the single father to two Indian surrogate babies, has been sentenced to nearly two years’ jail under Norway’s child pornography laws.
Brøyn was found guilty of possessing and sharing an enormous quantity of material—about 200,000 pictures and 4,000 hours of video—showing children subjected to brutal sexual abuse. The indictment against Brøyn reads: “Pictures and videos show sexual abuse committed by adults against children, sexual acts between children, and children performing sexual acts on themselves.”
This case is symptomatic of the Norwegian child protection services (CPS) system (known as “Barnevernet”) and our authorities’ attitude to it. It demonstrates the double standards of what people in authority do and say in relation to the strict legislation regarding children that they themselves promote and through which they exercise power.
The Norwegian police were notified of Brøyn’s possession of this material as far back as 2014, from the Swiss police. However, Brøyn was not stopped from continuing as an expert and child psychiatrist in the CPS system for several years thereafter. He has been downloading abuse material from 1997.
…However, Brøyn was not stopped from continuing as an expert and child psychiatrist in the CPS system for several years thereafter…
THIS EXCELLENT ARTICLE EXPLAINING YET ANOTHER CASE OF THE NORWEGIAN “PROTECTIVE CHILDHOOD” RUN AMOK CONTINUES HERE…
HERE IS ANOTHER WAY TO SEE THE ARTICLE. (This is Suranya Aiyar’s excellent website. She has spearheaded this series of articles in the Sunday Guardian Live.)
Thank you for publishing, Chris.
Brøyn seems just a sorry figure, and the reason why we wrote about this case is not to bother about his person, other than as an example, a documentation, of how wrong this kind of power given to someone in the psycho-babble industry can go.
There are two much more important reasons:
One is to try, through showing him up, to get the authorities to stop covering up, rather to finally understand that there are dozens of families, maybe some hundred, who have been ill-treated by Brøyn and whose cases should immediately be re-opened and remedied if any reparation is possible, this time with what the families say given credence, not what Brøyn and the CPS have said. These are real, live people with feelings and lives that have been violated.
The other is to show that our authorities just continue hiding what the whole system is like. Brøyn is of course no single exception – the whole psycho-babble industry operates both without a scientific basis and without ethical sensitivity and responsibility.
You’re welcome, Marianne, and it is a privilege to publish material by two Norwegians who know the tragic problem up close.
Thank you for co-writing this important article for the reasons you have expressed here.
There is no question in my mind that each and every case that this “top child protection expert” was involved in should be re-opened as you have suggested. If Norway continues to have the time and resources to break up biological families then it can find the same to try and make reparations to those, as you have so aptly put it, whose “lives…have been violated.”
Your last paragraph is so sad but it must be “stated.” The reality of these crimes, taking place in a country that is so respected for various reasons in other parts of the world, need to be exposed for what they are. It is evil. There is no better word to describe it. These crimes against humanity and human rights need confrontation from as many places as possible. This article will help to shed a bright light into the very dark place that is called the Norwegian “Child Welfare Services” also known as the Barnevernet.
Marianne, the important reasons (I would say purposes) are well formulated. I hope that some commonly read newspapers (like VG or IDAG) is willing to publish these concerns as well.
Norway deservers an honest and deep conversations about the hidden practices. The system will of course try to push responsibility to the lowest level, individual case worker etc.
That’s why the emphasis must be on the system level, lack of adequate quality controls and audits and the responsibility of Bufdir and the Ministry…
I have just completed an even longer version of Jan’s and my article. Here it is:
“Crime and assessments in child protection circles in Norway
– A court case, comparisons, and implications”
It is less clear than the shorter one, and certainly less clear than Jan’s very first report, which captures central points in a nutshell:
“Top child psychiatrist and child protection expert convicted for child abuse photos and videos”
The responsibility for “Crime and assessments” being less well structured is mine – Jan has been absent in Berlin and Prague and Kraków! I have nevertheless put it on the web as it is, since it contains a little more information than we could find room for in “A case exposing …”, which should be available to non-Scandinavian readers if they want it. But the extra facts are not many and I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to wade through it! It would have been better if Jan had been able to take the final stages into his professional hands. I am no great admirer of journalists generally, but Jan, in addition to having the technical sides of writing under control, really has gone into the subject matter of “child protection” and therefore understands it, which puts what he writes about it on a different level.
Thank you for sharing this extended version with us, Marianne. I will definitely get to it as time allows. I have recently been unable to even keep up with my emails, so online reading has been on the back burner. God bless you for your continued work on this important subject. I certainly appreciate it as well, I’m sure, as others concerned about the health and welfare of children and families.
I’ve just completed reading the longer version, Marianne. I am hard pressed to come up with words to describe my reaction, once again, to this information. It is insanity, surely. There are two Norways, at least when it comes to Child Welfare: one for people like this evil man, and the other for regular citizens.
“He was on 23 April 2018 found guilty and sentenced to one year and 10 months in prison.”
It is an unbelievably light sentence when compared with those guilty of the same types of offences where I live. This sentence is a joke. Offenders here are defined as a certain “level” type sex offender depending on the severity of the crimes. When they are out of prison, their location is public for all to know and I’ve received several notices in the mail since I’ve lived where I am that a sex-offender has moved within several miles of my residence complete with picture and address. The system is far from perfect here, but in my state there seems to be genuine concern about pedophiles like this. I know there are areas in the country that are not as careful.
“Before Brøyn was released from custody, his two children were on 9 February 2017 moved by the CPS to non-relatives. However, the County Board (an administrative committee which functions as the first instance decision-maker in care proceedings), decided that they should be returned to him, so they have been back with him since the summer of 2017. Again, the liberal attitude of a section of the authorities, here regarding a confessed pedophile father living alone with his children, is somewhat unusual.”
What??? The contrast you’ve shown between the treatment of this ungodly man and good parents is enough to make any semi-decent person’s blood boil. There appears to be a lack any wisdom left in some of these “administrative committees.”
“It seems an example of how evaluations and prognoses in the CPS sector are frequently self-serving in the extreme.”
Thus, the major problem. Those who are making decisions like the ones made in this case seem to have no moral compass from which to base decisions. Call themselves what they will, “psychological or social professionals,” there is an obvious lack of discernment and common sense to the point of depravity and wickedness.
I completely agree with the recommendations mentioned near the end of the article. There should be an extensive investigation.
“The first action of the ECC now ought to be to recognize that Brøyn’s evaluations cannot be given any credence.”
“Any activity by the ECC itself in which Brøyn has taken part must be regarded as unsafe unless the ECC provides proof positive that Brøyn’s attitudes and own life have not in any way influenced on his part in the work and in the ECC’s conclusions.”
“So far, the silence from the two ministries and the ECC has been almost deafening.”
It is all so sad.
I appreciate that you an Mr. Simonsen have made and excellent attempt to open the eyes of the world through this article. I will continue to pray for Norway. I know that one doesn’t have to be a Christian to develop some sense of morality but my opinion has always been, and I hope it is obvious, that the Christianity that most of Norway once took seriously and that has mostly eroded to the point of nonrecognition when compared to Biblical instruction, is the best answer for a nation that has lost its way.
Unfortunately, the world seems to be heading towards a time like the one described in the Book of Judges:
“In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” -Judges 17:6 and 21:25.
I hope I am wrong and that people will wake up to recognize things like this for what they are, unrestrained evil to varying degrees.
Thank you again for your work in this area, Marianne. I have noticed more traffic on social media in recent months as it seems that more Norwegians are becoming braver about posting items that will get them noticed by the ever watchful eyes of the Barnevernet. It is a monster that needs to put out of its misery and the sooner the better.