Government action to prevent sexual offences and offences by immigrants
On 20 February, the Finnish Government published measures to prevent and combat sexual offences in general and crimes committed by immigrants. The package of measures was prepared by the ministerial working group on internal security and administration of justice and the ministerial working group on migration, led by the Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen.
“In the preparation of the action programme our focus was on measures to ensure that Finland is a safe and secure country while also being open, international and capable of attracting workforce from abroad. By these measures we want to provide the authorities with sufficient powers and resources to prevent in advance and take action to deal with all sexual offences”, Minister Mykkänen says.
The package contains both measures to prevent offences by immigrants (nine sets of measures) and measures to prevent sexual offences in general (five sets of measures).
Measures to address criminal offences by immigrants include giving more consideration to criminal background when granting residence permits on the basis of international protection and by enhancing the surveillance of persons pending return who may pose a threat. In future the reporting duty will apply more broadly than at present to persons who have received a deportation decision that has gained legal force and who are no longer entitled to reception services. In addition, the Government will start to prepare legislative amendments by which the status of international protection could be terminated for persons who have committed an aggravated offence in Finland or persons residing abroad who pose a risk to national security or public order.
Measures to prevent sexual offences in general include providing more resources to internet police, more severe punishments for sexual offences, and increased cooperation among the public authorities and preventive police work by the Anchor teams. Stronger action will be targeted to schools so that children and the young will be better capable of recognising grooming behaviour and acting safely in social media, and have clear instructions how to act in a situation where they come across something unpleasant, frightening or disturbing in social media.
University Central Hospitals, first in Oulu and Helsinki, will introduce the so-called Child Advocacy Center model, where a multidisciplinary team in a child-friendly environment examines the situation of a child or young person who may be a victim of sexual offence. They also collaborate to make sure that all the necessary further measures will be taken.
The Government will start the preparation and introduction of these measures without delay. The ministerial working group on internal security and administration of justice and the ministerial working group on migration will set more detailed target schedules for the measures and follow the progress of their implementation. Legislative preparation will also be started during the current government term in order that the next Government can make the necessary assessments and launch the measures as soon as possible. This week the Government will give its supplementary budget proposal for 2019, including proposals for additional funding that is needed for some of the measures.
Inquiries: Titta Andersson-Bohren, Special Adviser to Minister Mykkänen, tel. +358 50 513 1539
Edit 20.2.2019 at 2 pm: Link to the Action Program has been updated