Swedish kindergartens cut windows in toilets to fight pedophilia

Two years after widespread child abuse was revealed at preschools in the Swedish city of Kristianstad, extensive changes have been made in order to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. In addition to a comprehensive mobile phone ban, all of the city’s kindergartens had windows installed in their restroom facilities.

In 2015, a 40-year-old childcare worker from Kristianstad’s supply pool was revealed to have abused 20 children aged between one and three years old. The abuse was often carried out in conjunction with diaper changes; the perpetrator also used his mobile phone to photograph his victims. The molester was later convicted of rape, gross sexual exploitation and child pornography.

Two years later, Kristianstad’s preschools introduced extensive precautions to thwart similar incidents in the future. The preventive measures were introduced as a result of a community discussion, not least with troubled parents, Swedish national broadcaster SVT reported.

Among other anti-molestation measures, windows were placed in toilets, and the changing tables were moved to a more central location to make it easier for other staff to observe whether temporary workers were changing diapers correctly. A comprehensive mobile phone ban was also introduced, so that employees’ phones are locked in during the day.

Some of the measures, however, triggered the staff’s criticism. For instance, Göran Calrsson, who’s been working as a preschool teacher in Kristianstad for a decade, questions the reasoning behind the mobile ban. According to him, a better dialogue between the authorities and the staff is needed if measures are to be introduced which could reduce the risk of internal abuse.

“In my own and my colleagues’ world, there is only one way of helping, and that is to have more eyes around. More adults on staff leads to less work performed single-handedly. If there only were more of us, there would be no room for such incidents,” Göran Carlsson told SVT.

Prior to the revelation, the pedophile had a good record and was appreciated and frequently requested by the municipality, working in 26 of its 57 preschools and 4 primary schools since 2012.

“I believe it came as a shock to all of us. We were a little put off but received good information and had to be effective,” Anna Niklasson, the head of one of the preschools where the man worked, said.

With about 40,000 inhabitants, Kristianstad is one of the most populous cities in Sweden’s southernmost Skåne County.

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