Mishandlingsbestemmelsen: En evaluering av loven mot mishandling i nære relasjoner jf. Strl. § 219 (§ 282/283)
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During the past decade the criminal law against repeated and severe domestic violence has been actively enforced in Norway. This study will evaluate police practice of this law (Paragraph 219 under the Penal Code of 1902, paragraph 282/283 according to the Penal Code of 2005). Special trained police officers and others working within law enforcement, such as prosecutors and judges, have participated as informants in this study. They have answered questions about what challenges and dilemmas this legal provision offers. The challenges appear at two levels: The law against repeated and severe domestic abuse requires a significant amount of police resources that involves hard prioritizing. Furthermore, what kind of actions should be highlighted in a domestic abuse investigation is another issue as there is no clear definition of ‘abuse’. It is insufficient to merely read the legal text in order to grasp what it criminalizes – one also has to research the legal sources. The Supreme Court has decided that in order to apply this law a regime of control and violence must be evident within the close relationship. In identifying such a regime, the police must not only pay attention to the specific incidents of physical violence, but also focus on what happens in between these events. The totality and complexity of domestic abuse including the psychological violence involved is of major importance with regard to how the law against repeated and severe domestic abuse is enforced.