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Breaking Chains: Sweden’s Innovative Approach to Combat Domestic Violence

Breaking Chains: A New Approach to Combat Domestic Violence in Sweden

Are you verbally abusing or physically assaulting your partner? Expect a knock on your door soon! That’s the tough message coming from a new pilot project in Malmö, Sweden. This groundbreaking project is testing an innovative method to combat domestic violence. Drawing from a strategy developed by American researchers, Swedish authorities are flipping the traditional methods of dealing with such crimes on their heads.

Turning the Tables

Simply put, the focal point is shifting from the victims, who are typically forced to relocate for their safety, to the culprits. “We’re trying to limit the life of the man who abuses and put as few restrictions as possible on the victim” explains Jonas Lander, chief of Malmö Police. It’s a radical departure from the status quo, reversing traditional roles, but one that could potentially have a significant impact on domestic violence incidences.

Malmö City’s project manager, Ulrika Lindh stresses that “We need to do something about those who commit these acts if we want to stop domestic violence.”

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Risk Rating System

The men at the core of this preventative initiative are added to a police list and segregated on risk-level basis, ranging from A to D. Police records, coupled with other risk factors, lay the groundwork for such classification. Multiple aspects are considered – attempted suicides, being mentally ill or an addict, stalking or sexually abusing women, involvement in custody disputes, or undergoing separation. A disproportionately scared victim is a significant indicator of lethal domestic partner abuse.

The risk-level classification offers a comprehensive overview, enabling officers to focus on the men posing the biggest threat.

United We Stand

The project sees the police, the social welfare, and parole departments joining forces to ensure that those who have been reported for abusive behaviour are aware that society is watching. Specifically, the men identified under this initiative are either sought out in jail or called to meetings.

Message to Abusers

“We see you, and society won’t tolerate violence. Importantly, help is available,” says Jonas Lander. He highlights that the project, though majorly addressing men, takes into account all perpetrators of partner violence.

The underlying principle, aptly named “Safe relationship – free from violence,” is to enhance the security of the victims by focusing on the abusers.

The plan upon completion of the project’s timeline is to generalize this approach as the standard operating procedure. Other regions in Sweden have also expressed their interest in adopting the methodology.


This fresh approach to tackling domestic violence, tailored from a method effectively used against hardcore gang criminals in Malmö, embodies Sweden’s determination to confront this societal evil. The success of this pilot project could open doors for similar programs around the globe, bringing us one step closer to eliminating domestic violence. Like a good friend giving you advice, remember we all have a role to play. Domestic violence is everyone’s problem. Together, by being aware and responsive to such issues in our community, we can make a difference.

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