136. Section 349 a of the General Civil Penal Code also affords persons with disabilities protection against discrimination in employment relationships. Under this provision, any person who in any commercial or similar activity refuses anyone goods or services because of their disability may be liable to fines or imprisonment of up to six months, provided that such refusal is not due to lack of physical accommodation. This provision has been incorporated into section 186 of the General Civil Penal Code of 2005.
Abuse of position
137. Section 193 of the General Civil Penal Code punishes the abuse of position and anyone who engages in or who aids and abets others to engage in sexual activity by exploiting a person's mental illness or learning disability. This provision has been incorporated into section 295 of the General Civil Penal Code of 2005. One of the acts specified in the provision governing rape concerns anyone who engages in sexual activity with a person who is unconscious or incapable for any other reason of resisting the act; see section 192, first paragraph (b) of the General Civil Penal Code. This act may, under certain circumstances, be applicable in cases where the aggrieved person is severely disabled. This provision has been incorporated into section 291 (b) of the General Civil Penal Code of 2005.
Disability as an aggravating circumstance
138. Furthermore, the fact that a crime that is motivated by the aggrieved person's disability may constitute an aggravating circumstance. Section 232 of the General Civil Penal Code specifies this as an especially aggravating circumstance that may lead to an increase in the penalty for assault and bodily harm. In the General Civil Penal Code of 2005, a crime that is motivated by the aggrieved person's disability is specified as a generally aggravating circumstance; see section 77 (i). The General Civil Penal Code of 2005 has not yet entered into force. It is expected to enter into force in the course of 2015. The abovementioned provision is expected to support current legislation as it is articulated in case law.
Violence and abuse
139. A prevalence study entitled ‘Violence and rape in Norway. A national prevalence study of violence during the life course’ was launched by the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies in 2014. The study documents the prevalence of violence and abuse in Norway. However, no reliable figures exist for persons with disabilities. Research studies conducted in 2010 and 2013 conclude that persons with functional or intellectual disabilities are exposed to at least as much violence as the rest of the population. It is believed to particularly apply to women with disabilities.
140. A mapping of the services available to persons with disabilities vulnerable to violence was conducted in connection with following up the Government's Action Plan against Domestic Violence 2014‒2017. This mapping is now being followed up. This work is viewed in connection with Guidelines for cases involving sexual abuse of adults with intellectual disabilities. These guidelines have been published on a website. The website also contains material for training and competence development in municipalities, companies and other relevant organisations, and easy-to-read brochures for people with intellectual disabilities.
141. Digitised teaching material dealing with sexuality and setting boundaries for young people with disabilities has been developed. This material, called Kropp, identitet og seksualitet [Body, identity and sexuality] is aimed at persons with minor disabilities but can also be used by others. Teaching should be performed by a course instructor. The objectives for the course are to promote a healthy attitude towards one's own body and sexuality and to prevent abuse.
142. In 2014, the Government launched a new action plan to combat violence and abuse of children and young people (to run from 2014 to 2017). The plan, called A Good Childhood Lasts a Lifetime, emphasizes how children and young people with disabilities are particularly at risk of being subjected to offensive acts, violence and abuse. Measure 21 in the plan therefore aims to develop better procedures to detect and follow up on such cases, including abuse by service providers. These procedures will be communicated to all relevant services and assistance programmes.
143. A guide to enhance the Child Welfare Service's expertise in the area of children with disabilities is expected to be published in mid 2015. This should help prevent vulnerable children from being misdiagnosed when they have been subjected to neglect and abuse. A website dedicated specifically to protecting adults with disabilities against sexual abuse has also been created.
144. The aim is to make all crisis centres and incest crisis centres accessible to everyone, regardless of functional ability. In 2013, 32 of 47 centres were considered accessible, compared to only 18 of 50 centres in 2007.
145. In 2012, Norway introduced a regulatory provision requiring companies offering the employment scheme called permanent adapted work to request a criminal record certificate from individuals who are to be employed by these companies and who may enter into relationships of trust or responsibility where abuse of or harmful influence on persons with intellectual disabilities may occur. By employees is meant regular employees, and the certificate must not be more than three months old. The requirement for a criminal record certificate is intended to prevent abuse of and negative influence on persons with intellectual disabilities in the workplace. See Article 27 for further discussion of the permanent adapted work measure.
146. One problem that is often highlighted is that cases where persons with intellectual disabilities have been subjected to violence and sexual abuse go unreported. One place where this issue has been brought to light is the white paper on liberty and equity for persons with intellectual disabilities. The bill on amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act (Prop. 112 L (2014–2015)) (concerning examination of children and particularly vulnerable aggrieved persons and witnesses) proposes that the initial examination should as a general rule be conducted without the suspect being charged or notified in advance. If this proposal is adopted, it will lower the threshold for reporting such cases and make it easier to report suspicions of violence or abuse of particularly vulnerable adults to the police promptly. Furthermore, these amendments will reduce the risk of particularly vulnerable adults being subjected to further abuse and threats from the time of reporting to the time of examination. In this way, society will be better placed to detect and prevent abuse of persons with intellectual disabilities and others with similar disabilities.