Report: Every third woman in Finland experiences intimate partner violence

According to the Finnish branch of UN Women, one in three Finnish women experiences intimate partner violence at some point in their lives.

UN Women is a United Nations organization working for equality and the empowerment of women.

This makes Finland the second most dangerous country for women in the EU, with NGO statistics suggesting that almost half of girls and women over the age of 15 experience some form of physical or sexual violence during their lifetime.

On Thursday, the United Nations launched its End Violence against Women campaign, which includes 16 days of activism against gender-based violence and is also known as the UN International Orange Days.

The color orange has been chosen to mark a two-week period as a symbol of hope for a future where a non-violent life is everyone’s right.

The annual campaign begins on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Thursday 25 November and ends on Human Rights Day 10 December.

Crisis workers get more calls, police visit more

Reports of violence against women in Finland, especially intimate partner violence, have increased according to figures published by the Satakunta Social Emergency Department.

By November 19 of this year, the department’s emergency number received about 333 calls related to incidents of violence. In 2020, the corresponding number of notifications was 250.

Satakunta crisis worker Anu Ahosmäki said the increased number of reports is likely related to increased time spent at home during the Covid pandemic.

"The situation has been particularly challenging in homes where there has been violence in the past. Voltages may be higher," Ahosmäki said, adding that the increase in calls may also be due to increased awareness of the services available to victims of intimate partner violence.

Last year, about 550 Finnish addresses were visited at least three times after reports of violence, a study by the Police Board revealed. About 20 homes received as many as 11 visits during the year, equivalent to nearly one visit per month.

Sergeant of the Police Department of Southwest Finland Teemu Huttunen agrees that intimate partner violence is now better identified as a problem.

"This is a very challenging phenomenon for different authorities to identify and address. Fortunately, the police have learned to recognize it better and the means of control are also more effective," Huttunen said.

Although statistics suggest that officials made more home visits due to domestic violence warnings during the coronavirus pandemic, growth is not as steep as in social security figures.

"This may be because it is often easier for a victim of violence to contact social services than to ask the police for help from an emergency center." Huttunen told about the difference between the figures.

Awareness is key

"It is important to be aware of intimate partner violence as a phenomenon. I stress that one in three women still face intimate partner violence," social worker Ahosmäki said.

He added that he was pleased with the support from the crisis services and stressed that people have been more concerned about their neighbors, friends and acquaintances as a result of the pandemic.

"Don’t worry about your friend if he’s away, crying, pulling away, or if he has a bruise on his cheek. Ask if all is well. Allow at least the person to say no," the social worker said.

In an emergency, call 112. You can also contact the MIELI crisis phone at 09 2525 0113.

Source: The Nordic Page


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