Child abuse a national problem
Eight children die as a result of abuse or neglect in Denmark each year, according to the Social Services Board.
Recent statistics released by the National Board of Social Services show that between 600 and 1000 cases of child abuse are registered with the agency each year.
Susanne Dal Gravesen, project leader in the agency’s youth and children’s division, says the figure is at the most conservative end of the scale.
‘The statistics show only the tip of the iceberg. Child abuse typically takes place behind closed doors and is a very taboo issue,’ she said.
Police receive up to 4000 reports of alleged child abuse or neglect nationwide each year, only a fraction of which end up as concrete cases for the Social Services Board.
A recent Rambøll/Jyllands-Posten survey also showed that 8 percent of parents support corporal punishment for children when they misbehave.
Lola Jensen, a family counsellor, said the frustrations of many otherwise reasonable parents simply boil over as children become more and more difficult.
‘Children today generally have less respect for adults, authority, the police and the law,’ said Jensen. ‘I deal with many parents who swore they would never hit their child, but have done so because they felt powerless over the poor upbringing of their child, for which they themselves are responsible.’
The government has recognised the problem and set up the ‘Children from battered families’ programme, which was launched in August and includes a 51 million kroner allocation. But Jensen admits taming the problem is an uphill battle.
‘It will be a long time before our population consists exclusively of children who were never beaten by those that love them the most.’ (rc)
Smoking Shaves a Decade off Men’s Lives
Published 13.10.2008, 17.21
Middle-aged men who don’t smoke live about ten years longer on average than their heavy-smoking peers.
According to research carried out by the University of Helsinki, University of Oulu and the National Public Health Institute, non-smoking men also enjoy a somewhat higher quality of life in their later years.
Some 1,600 men born between the years 1919 and 1934 were included in the study. Their smoking patterns and health risks during the 1970s were analysed.
Dutch want to be in the dark
Tuesday 14 October 2008
A majority of the population would like it to be darker at night as long as this does not affect security, according to research by the environmental organisation Natuur en Milieu.
Some 75% say too much light disturbs nocturnal animals and 82% think it is a waste of energy, reports the Telegraaf.
Nearly half of those questioned complain that artificial light means they cannot see the stars.
According to survey, the Netherlands is one of the most lit up countries in the world, and it gets 3% lighter each year.
‘Lower growth, higher unemployment’
First published: 13 Oct 2008, 11:50
“The international finance crisis will yield clearly weaker growth impulses from abroad than earlier thought,” wrote SSB in its prognosis released at a seminar Monday morning.
SSB researcher Torbjørn Eika said it’s difficult to make predictions, though, given the market volatility unleashed by the financial crisis. He made the following anyway, saying Norway can expect:
a longterm international economic downturn
a decline in the price of raw materials
a decline in investment
weak growth of GNP
lower wage growth
The downturn is likely to continue until 2011, before there may be what Eika called a “moderate” upturn.
He also thinks interest rates will fall again, down to 3.5 percent by the spring of 2010 from 8 percent in 2009. “We assume that the authorities will do what’s needed to gain control over interest rates,” Eika said.
Sweden contemplates alcohol locks for drunk drivers
Published: 10 Oct 08 08:52 CET
A new form of punishment for drunk drivers under consideration in Sweden would allow some offenders to keep their driver’s licences provided they installed an alcohol lock on their vehicles.
A report issued on Thursday by a government commission studying the use of alcohol locks did not propose implementing a general requirement that all new cars be outfitted with an alcohol lock.
The device prevents someone from starting a vehicle if it detects traces of alcohol on the driver’s breath.
The commission explained that a general requirement for alcohol locks could be considered to impede competition, and would thus require approval by European Union authorities in Brussels.
According to the commission’s findings however, a person who has been convicted of drunk driving could then be required to drive using an alcohol lock for one or two years, depending on the severity of the offence.
Other mitigating factors relating to the drunken driving transgression, as well as any diagnoses of alcohol dependence or abuse would also affect the required length of time for using the lock. In order to once again drive a car without the alcohol lock, the offender would have to avoid receiving any traffic citations during the probationary period and pass a test.
People who have their licences revoked after having driven while intoxicated must then request permission to instead drive with an alcohol lock.
The application, which would need to be accompanied by a doctor’s certificate, would be approved if the personal and medical conditions are accepted.
The government is expected to put forward a formal legislative proposal regarding alcohol locks sometime next year.