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Deputy-Ombudsman Sakslin gave decisions on child protection

Maija Sakslin, Deputy-Ombudsman has proposed compensation for a child who was sexually exploited by a child welfare institution employee (4031/2019). 

The child had to live against their will in the room where the abuse had taken place. Later, the child was isolated in the same room. In addition, the child did not find the support they received sufficient to deal with the event.

The foster care unit and the municipality had acted appropriately to investigate the offence and to make the perpetrator liable after the incident. 

The child's right to physical integrity was violated during foster care. As a country committed to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Finland must guarantee special protection and support for a child in foster care. The Finnish Constitution guarantees the right of the child to necessary care. The Deputy-Ombudsman considered that these rights were not fully safeguarded by the foster care unit and the municipality after an offence against the child, and she therefore argued that they would compensate for the violation of the rights of the child. 

In a second decision (3730/2019), Deputy-Ombudsman Sakslin considered that the urgent placement of a child suspected of an offence outside home to secure the pre-trial investigation was illegal.

The child had been placed in foster care as a matter of urgency and their contact and freedom of movement had been restricted in accordance with police guidance during the pre-trial investigation. The Deputy-Ombudsman emphasised that the police have no competence to decide on child welfare measures or to guide their implementation. 

In a third decision (3126/2019), the Deputy-Ombudsman stated that the task of a representative of a child who had arrived in Finland as a quota refugee had not been completed because the child had been taken into care. The municipality had considered that the representative could no longer handle the matters of the child. 

As the relevant legislation was open to interpretation and the application practice was not clear, the municipality’s conduct was not reprehensible. 

The decisions of Deputy-Ombudsman Maija Sakslin 4031/2019, 3730/2019 and 3126/2019 are published on the Ombudsman's website at www.oikeusasiamies.fi.

Further information is available from Kristiina Kouros, Secretary to the Parliamentary Ombudsman: +358 9 432 3396.