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The Alarming Increase of Youth Violence: A Growing Concern in Kristiansand

– It is frightening to see how violent the children are. It may seem that the boundaries are being pushed in order for the films to be spectacular. The children don’t understand how dangerous it can be, says Harald Hollerud at the police in Kristiansand.

NRK has gained access to a video showing one of the violent incidents in Kristiansand.

The victim’s next of kin have consented to its publication. They say the situation feels so tough that they cannot bear to speak out now.

The film from this spring shows how their daughter of primary school age is dragged to the ground. Lying down, she tries to shield her head while being subjected to massive violence. In the video, deep bangs are heard when the kicks are aimed at the head and back.

The incident is filmed a few meters away.

According to what NRK understands, the girl received health care after the violent episode.

Three girls have been charged in the case, while one girl is a suspect. All four have been involved in similar episodes of violence in the past.

Parent: – Very distressed

NRK does not know the identity of all the accused or their next of kin.

Due to their young age, they have not been appointed a defense attorney or legal aid lawyer.

The police have therefore, at the request of NRK, contacted the next of kin of the accused girls to ask for a response to the accusations.

Two of the parents have contacted NRK. One of them says the family is deeply distraught that their daughter has committed violence.

– As parents, we are shocked when we see our own child performing such actions. We feel horror and shame, and we blame ourselves as parents. Then, of course, you are worried about the child who is exposed to violence.

Lays “traps” for the victims

The police say several of the cases indicate that the most important motive for the girls is to spread fear.

– The films show girls who are completely limitless. They are looking for situations where they can use violence, says Hollerud.

Youth violence is not a new phenomenon in Kristiansand. But the police have noticed a worrying trend:

The perpetrators of violence are getting younger.
More and more girls commit reckless violence.
The same gang of girls is behind several episodes of violence.
Everything is filmed and shared on Snapchat and TikTok.

– The victims are chosen at random and it takes very little time before it hits. Several times the girls set up “traps” to find a reason to attack the victims.

The police state that youth violence paralyzes parts of the city for periods of time.

– For the children, the humiliation is often the worst. The films are spread again and again. We fear that young people who are exposed will be traumatized for many years to come.

Investigation leader Harald Hollerud stands at the bus station in Kristiansand. Here, several young girls are said to have carried out a robbery last week.

Photo: Jon Anders Møllen / NRK

The children cannot be punished

The challenge for the police is to find good measures when the girls are so young.

In Norway, the criminal minimum age is 15. In questioning, several of the children say that they know that they cannot be punished.

– The violence is often so severe that an adult would have been put in solitary confinement. But we can’t do that with children, says Hollerud.

The police work interdisciplinary with schools, the leisure agency, child protection and others who come into contact with the children.

– We have contact with everyone who can help make a difference in the children’s lives, but it is demanding, says Hollerud.

The victim’s next of kin have agreed to the video being published to show the brutality.

Few account for many of the incidents

Every single day, the municipality is in contact with the youth communities in the districts.

– We experience that the violence creates fear, says crime prevention coordinator in Kristiansand municipality, Johanne Benitez Nilsen.

Few young people are responsible for much of the crime. But the few are very active.

For a child who experiences violence, it can be experienced as another abuse if there are no consequences.

Many do not speak up because they are afraid of being caught for “snitching”.

She also says that several parents are reluctant to contact the police, for fear of revenge.

Crime prevention coordinator in Kristiansand municipality, Johanne Benitez Nilsen.

Photo: Jon Anders Møllen / NRK

Sharing is also punishable

Hollerud in the police believes many people are not aware of the consequences of sharing violent videos online.

Sharing videos is punishable, and helps to intensify the trauma for those who experience the violence.

– If you share or watch, you participate. It is important that young people understand that, says Hollerud.

I want to hear from you

NRK wants to shine a spotlight on youth crime. Do you experience fear? Have you been subjected to violence? Have you yourself been violent towards others? Then I want to get in touch with me.

2023-08-14 12:09:47

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