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Denmark: Efforts to reduce negative social control are working

An evaluation of Denmark's 2016 national action plan - approved from the beginning by a parliamentary majority - shows that its efforts have been effective.

73 million DKR were allocated within the state budget to carry out this action plan between 2017 and 2020. A new system for security consultants, an increased number of 'exit' houses, training for frontline staff, counselling in municipalities and psychological support for people who have been exposed to honour-related conflict and negative social control are just some of the 22 initiatives within the plan which have been used to strengthen preventive and practical work in 86 of Denmark's 98 municipalities.

Private consulting firm COWI carried out the evaluation, and the Minister for Integration and Immigration Mattias Tesfaye welcomed the result: 'I'm a happy minister. The report shows that we have become better at helping the many young people who are exposed to negative social control. But unfortunately, I think we only see the tip of the iceberg. We know from research that too many young citizens are not free to choose their own partner and live a normal, Danish youth life. Accordingly, we will intensify the efforts against negative social control even further'.

The evaluation concludes that the goal of the action plan has been met, namely to strengthen the efforts against honour-related conflicts and negative social control. Ten detailed conclusions show that:

  1. 86 out of 98 municipalities have been involved in initiatives of the action plan;
  2. The action plan has contributed to more municipalities developing a contingency or action plan on the issue;
  3. Professionals in the municipalities have increased their knowledge of honour-related conflict and negative social control;
  4. Inclusion of specialised knowledge has strengthened the handling of honour-related cases in the municipalities;
  5. Development of skills through the action plan created the greatest value through collaboration and counselling around individual cases;
  6. The action plan has made the intensive support units stronger. However, the need for intensive support for people affected by honour-related conflict and negative social control exceeds the capacity available;
  7. The action plan has increased national coordination work;
  8. Prevention and influencing within local communities is best done through actors from civil society;
  9. The handling of cases of honour-related conflict and negative social control must be holistic;
  10. Surveys and follow-up research have created new knowledge on the issue, which adds to developing practice at the municipality level.

Find out more here.