Life in Sweden's residential care homes 

Five girls share their experiences in Sweden's residential care homes, which are under the spotlight this week after a teen allegedly killed a fellow resident. 

Catherine Edwards
Catherine Edwards NewsMavens, Sweden
Life in Sweden's residential care homes  - NewsMavens
Girl sad, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

Last week, a teenage girl died after being stabbed at a Swedish care home. A 14-year-old fellow female resident is suspected of causing her death, in what one criminologist said was a "unique case" in Swedish criminal history. Since then, reports have emerged that the 14-year-old had tried to seek help beforehand, and that there were other shortcomings in the care offered at the institutions. 

It's a tragic incident, but not a wholly isolated one, with multiple reports of violence and suicide attempts at Sweden's youth care homes over recent months and years.

Five girls who have spent time in the institutions share their stories (in video and written interviews), and recall their experiences of the choatic environment, staff shortages, and worse, from sexual abuse to suicide attempts, as well as the traumatic experience of care in isolation.

Details from the story:

  • There is no lower age limit for children in HVB residential care homes though the target group is 15-17-year-olds
  • There are 23 such homes across Sweden
  • The most common reasons for being allocated to a HVB home are substance abuse and "socially disruptive behaviour"
  • Suicide attempts at SiS homes (youth homes of the National Board of Institutional Care) have reportedly tripled in four years, numbering 26 attempts in 2017

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