Bristande insikt om bristande insikt – Om det oskrivna rekvisitet i LVU

Published in Nordisk socialrättslig tidskrift nr 31–32.2022, April 2022 s. 125–166


‘Insight’ is a requirement frequently evoked in the legal sources, including administrative court rulings dealing with the protective custody of children. Yet, it is neither mentioned in the applicable legislation (LVU), nor thus far addressed in the legal scholarship. The present article accordingly explores the notion as it is addressed, not only in preparatory works and jurisprudence, but also by interviewed legal practitioners and social workers dealing with social interventions for families.

The empirical study shows that, in compulsory care, parents’ lack of insight regarding their own situation, their children’s needs or in terms of acknowledging past incidents, has in effect developed into a hard-core requirement capable of justifying coercive care. It is accordingly referred to as an uncodified legal requisite, and perhaps one of the more important ones, in fact; practitioners perceived insight to be pivotal in most legal decision-making on both the initiation and continuation/termination of care.

But insight into what? And how is a person’s insight measured? How much insight is enough? The subject of parents’ insight, as well as its evaluation, is found to be both practically opaque and legally problematic. Procedural ambiguities, institutional entrenchment, and professional projections paint a complex image, best described as a minefield for all agents and parties involved.