Is Sweden powerless against juvenile violence?

Sweden is discussing juvenile violence. A media report about a 13-year-old who had to flee Uppsala with his family after being threatened by a gang of children has triggered a heated public debate. The press is calling for a clamp down.

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Expressen (SE) /

New reality calls for new rules

The lax approach towards young offenders is the problem, writes Expressen:

“ It's no longer unusual for very young people to commit serious crimes. But it's still the social services that take care of young people under 15, and these supportive measures are generally implemented on a voluntary basis. Older youths can be tried and convicted by a court but they usually end up in the care of the social services, which are hardly in a position to deal with dangerous criminals. A tougher approach is not the whole solution of course. ... But who benefits from the current regulations? ... It can take eight to ten years before society starts to put its foot down - and by then it's often too late.”

Svenska Dagbladet (SE) /

The social contract is at stake

This new development has the potential to tear the very fabric of society, warns Svenska Dagbladet:

“Things have to change, for everyone's sake. We cannot allow victims to have to leave their homes. The perpetrators must be prevented from committing further violence and receive the help they need to make a new start. ... If you create a state and endow it with the resources needed to guarantee an individual's basic freedoms, the social contract has to function properly. Because the precious trust between the individuals in a society depends on them respecting and adhering to the basic rules.”