Rebild Council in northern Jutland, home to the one of the worst cases of child sexual abuse in Denmark’s history, makes errors in its handling of four out of every five cases involving children, a report from the Social Ministry reveals.
The council doesn’t fare much better when it comes to adults. In 62 percent of adult cases, the council makes errors in its case management.
The Social Ministry’s review of Rebild Council comes after the council made an attempt to “clean up” its staff in April of this year in response to its mishandling of the long-term sexual abuse of nine children in the so-called Rebild case (Rebild-sagen). In April, two council managers were fired and the head of the council’s centre for children resigned with immediate effect.
Mayor Anny Winther (Venstre), who approved of the firings, said the council was caught off guard by the new numbers.
“I am of course very surprised that there has been such a culture of failure, and I will be the first to apologise for that,” Winther told DR News. “To set the record straight, I would say that there are both small and large errors involved when we talk about 82 percent.”
Winther said that despite the high number of errors, there would be no additional firings, telling DR News that the council “has control of [its case-handling] and is cleaning up” its casework.
In the high-profile Rebild case, a 56-year-old father of ten sexually abused seven of his own children and two friends of one of his daughters. The family moved repeatedly, primarily in northern Jutland, before settling down in recent years in Rebild. He has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Rebild Council was heavily criticised for failing to forcibly remove the children from the home, despite repeated alarm bells from concerned teachers and daycare providers.
The Social Ministry’s review of the council’s cases has now led to additional criticism.
“There isn’t anybody who can think that this is good enough,” Lisbeth Wilms of the children’s rights group Børnerådet told DR, in reference to the 82 percent error rate. “It is incredibly serious when the error rate is so high, regardless of whether there are minor or major errors. We have laws in Denmark, and they must be followed. And when they are not followed, that is obviously not good enough.”