Police Discover Over 150 Cases of Sexual Assault Within Indigenous Community in Remote Norwegian Village
On Tuesday, Norwegian police published a
report on a remote area in their Tysfjord municipality,
where they’ve found over 150 cases of alleged sexual assault.
reports that the entire municipality only has 2,000
residents, and the crimes recorded took place over many
decades, starting in 1953. The most recent allegedly took place
in August of 2017.
Of the 151 cases, 43 involve rape, including three assaults
on children. Sexual intercourse with children under 14 is the
alleged offense in 40 of the cases.
The youngest of the 82 victims is four years old, while the
92 suspects are between 10 and 80 years of age, according to
The village where the abuse took place is mainly inhabited by
the Sami community, an ethnic minority in northern Scandinavia.
Police stated that there was “no reason to believe that
ethnicity or belief in itself can explain the extent of the
assaults,” but added that the community is close-knit, with
strong family ties, and people have been fearful of what coming
forward would do to those connections.
Vibeke Larsen, president of the Sami Parliamentary Council,
said that there is also less trust amongst the Sami people
In the past, Sami people have often been told to become “good
Norwegians and leave their own culture, language and symbols
behind,” she explained. “That’s why they have distrust in the
“They try to fix their problems in their own communities,
their own families, and not use the system as it should be
used,” she said.
Officials began their investigation into the accusations
following a report in Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang
in June 2016, in which 11 people came forward with their
stories. Police Chief Tone Vangen apologized in a news
conference about the failure of the department to investigate
crimes and support victims within the Sami community preceding
this exposé. Their own report revealed many cases of child
neglect and abuse, in addition to the alleged sexual assaults.
“Although many of the cases occurred a long time ago, it is
still hard to understand that no one has seen anything or
intervened,” the report said.