Inquiry Granskingsutvalget for Barnevernsinstitusjoner i Rogaland

Alternative Names
  • County Commission into Abuse and Neglect in Residential Homes in Rogaland County
  • Rogaland Commission
Inquiry Type
Commission: Independent Review
Norway; Rogaland

Key Dates

01 July 1954 - 01 January 1993
Period of investigation
29 March 2005
Announcement date
29 March 2005 - 10 May 2006
Period of operation
01 April 2006
Interim Report
30 June 2006
Final Report


The task of the Commission was to investigate claims of 'irregular conditions' in private and public institutions in Rogaland county in the during the period 1954-1993.

The defined period of inquiry corresponded with the total period in which the Act on Child Protection (1954-1993) was in force. The aim was to identify facts related to the individual's experiences of their stay in institutions and the conditions at these institutions. The Commission interpreted 'irregular conditions' in relation to what was applicable by law and regulations during the time in question. The Commission assessed various aspects of care, including practical care, emotional care, abuse and neglect. The Inquiry team was appointed by the County Governor.

The Process
There were three main sources for data collection: (1) interviews, (2) archives, and (3) relevant literature. The Commission conducted private session interviews with care leavers, previous employees in institutions and child protection board members, as well as employees of the county administration. The Commission also conducted archival research and reviewed professional literature in the areas of law, psychology, social pedagogy and social work. In addition to the main data collection sources the Commission conducted field trips.

Governing Legislation
Circular G-48/75 of Justice- and Police Ministry, dated 4 March 1975 on "Rules for Investigation Commissions"

Inquiry Locations
Norway; Rogaland

Private Sessions
All interviews were conducted in private settings. Most interviews were conducted face-to face in the premises of the Commission in Stavanger. Some interviews were also conducted in other locations in Norway. In addition, interviews were also conducted by telephone. The informant met two or more Commissioners, and the they were allowed to bring with them a support person. One of the Commissioners took notes. After the interview, the notes were given to all people present at the interview for review and approval. On average each interview lasted 2-3 hours. All of the informants were offered short term psychological support after the interview.

Case Studies
The following five children homes were investigated specifically: Bethania Waisenhus, Stavanger kommunale barnehjem, Strømvik, Tryggheim and Heimly. In addition, there were three boarding schools investigated: Lindøy, Ramsvik and Skålandand. Several other homes were investigated at a more superficial level.

Written Submissions
13 care leavers who did not want to participate in an interview provided written submissions about their upbringing in care. The Commission also had access to relevant criminal proceedings.

Roundtable Discussions
The Commission held 8 whole day discussions, but only for these were not open to the public and only involved members of the Commission. They also had shorter meetings approximately every two weeks.

157 individuals were witnesses. This included 111 care leavers, 28 institutional employees, 5 members of child protection boards and 8 other people. The ages of the informants ranged from mid-20s to 70 years, and the majority were in the 40-60 years age group. The duration of time in residential care varied from a few months to the whole childhood. Most of the informants had lived in a children's home or special school for more than three years.

Institutions examined by the inquiry were children's homes and boarding schools. Until 1980 all three special schools were for boys only; one of them was a primary school, the other two were secondary schools. The children's homes varied from the smallest one with 6 children to the largest with approximately 70 children organized in eight separate houses. One of the children's homes was owned by the municipality, while the others were owned by private religious or idealist organizations.

Based on the findings, the following main conclusions were drawn. The required standards of care for children living in residential care were clearly defined in the legal regulations as well as in specialist literature. Quality requests were comprehensive and ahead of their time. Detailed regulations and routines existed for contents, accomplishment and reporting of examination. For many children in residential care, the care given was neither in accordance with legal or professional standards of the time. This is especially conspicuous for the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The empirical data suggested particular irregularities in two children's homes and one special school for children with behavioural problems. With regard to the other institutions included in the case studies, it was stated that there were irregularities but the information was too limited and fragmented to allow generalizations to be drawn. The Commission also found that inspection of children's homes and follow-up of the individual child in residential care by the child protection authorities was highly insufficient, indeed largely non-existent. This is especially evident for the period 1960s and 1970s. Finally, several informants reported they had been exposed to physical punishment and sexual abuse in some of the institutions. They had also experienced lack of emotional and practical care.

1 recommendation was made.The Commission emphasised the important role of authorities who have children under public care, to ensure that the authorities have sufficient control and quality systems to ensure that children receive proper care and that the rights provided to them by law are not violated.

Further Action
The Commission found that the situation for children in care had improved since the 1970s. New control systems had been implemented in 1980. However, the Commission's conclusions led to the implementation of a local municipal redress scheme for people who had been abused or experienced undignified care conditions in institutional or foster care appointed by child welfare services in the period before 1 January 1980. The scheme was later extended to include the period 1 January 1980 to 1 January 1993. A decision to implement a redress scheme was made on 12 June 2006, prior to the handing down of the Commission's final report.

Related Inquiries
Granskingsutvalg for Aust- og Vest- Agder. (2009). Gransking av skole- og barnehjem i Aust- og Vest-Agder II, Fylkesmannen i Vest Agder.

Rapport fra Granskingsutvalget av barnehjem i Kristiansand, (2010)Fylkesmannen i Vest-Agder.

Granskingsutvalg i Oslo og Akershus. (2005). Barneverninstitusjoner benyttet av Oslo kommune 1954-1993, gransking av overgrep, omsorgssvik, ttilsyn og tvangsplassering. Oslo: Fylkesmannen i Oslo og Akershus.

Granskingsutvalget for barnehjemmene i Finnmark. (2008). Rapport fra granskingsutvalget for barnehjemmene i Finnmark. Vadsø: Fylkesmannen i Finnmark.

Granskingsutvalget i Sør-Trøndelag. (2007). Omsorg og overgrep Gransking av barnehjem, skolehjem og fosterhjem benyttet av Trondheim kommune fra 1930-årene til 1980-årene. Trondheim: Fylkesmannen i Sør- Trøndelag.


Book Sections

  • Ericsson, K., 'Children's Agency: The struggles of the Powerless', in Sköld, J., & Swain, S. (ed.), Apologies and the legacy of abuse of children in 'Care' International perspectives, Palgrave Macmillian, Basingstoke, 2015. Details

Final Reports

See also

  • Bolstad, T., & Tjeldflott, T., 'Overgrep og omsorgssvikt- Granskinger av barnehjem, skolehjem og fosterhjem.', Norges Barnevern, vol. 3, 2008, pp. 26-44. Details
  • Ericsson, K., 'Tause vitner eller varslere?', Tidsskrift for velferdsforskning, 17(1), 2-16., vol. 17, ', 2014, pp. 2-16. Details
  • Hanssen, H., 'Abuse and neglect in children's homes in the past - Implications for social work and social policy today', IUC Journal of social work theory & practice, vol. 15, no. 3, 2007/2008. Also available at Details

Acknowledgement: this summary was prepared by Ingunn Studsrød, University of Stavanger