Living in Finland

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Väkivalta
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Violence

Violence is a crime which must be reported to the police (poliisi). When in need of urgent police assistance, call the general emergency number 112. Do not call the emergency number about non-urgent matters. More information on emergencies is available on the Infopankki page Emergency situations.

In other cases you can report an offence online at the police website, over the telephone or at a police station.

linkkiPolice:
Instructions on how to file a crime reportFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiJudicial system:
Legal Aid OfficesFinnish | Swedish | English

Violence in a relationship or family

Violence in a relationship or family may involve, for example:

  • hitting, kicking or pushing
  • restriction of movement and activities
  • subordination and coercion
  • sexual violence

A victim of violence can be either a man or a woman. Violence can be targeted at an adult, a child or an elderly person. Violence in a relationship or family is always a crime; this includes physical abuse at home. In addition, corporal punishment of children, such as smacking, is prohibited by law in Finland.

Help can be obtained by both the victim and the offender. Contact the police, your local social office (sosiaalitoimisto), Victim Support Finland (rikosuhripäivystys) or a shelter (turvakoti). Should you fall victim to violence, it is advisable to file a report of the offence and visit a doctor. The doctor can also provide an official statement on the violent act, which will help to move things forward.

Where to get help?

It is important to seek help. It is very difficult to cope with violence alone. If the situation is extremely urgent, contact the police for assistance. If you are unable to go home due to your spouse's violent behaviour, you can go and stay at a shelter (turvakoti). You may contact a shelter even if you are simply afraid of being subjected to violence. There are shelters in many municipalities. More information on them is available from the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters (Ensi- ja turvakotien liitto) and your local social office (sosiaalitoimisto).

You can also seek help at a social office, health centre (terveyskeskus), family counselling centre (perheneuvola) and the Church Family Counselling Centre (Kirkon perheasiain neuvottelukeskus).

Women and young girls can call the Women’s Line (Naisten Linja). It is intended for women of all ages who have suffered from violence or been threatened with it, and for the close relatives of such women. The Women’s Line also provides its services in English and Swedish.

The Women’s Line on-call service is available at 0800 02400

  • in Finnish, Mon to Fri from 4 pm to 8 pm, Sat to Sun from 12 am to 4 pm
  • in Swedish, Wed from 4 pm to 8 pm
  • in English, Fri from 4 pm to 8 pm

Help and information is also provided by the Monika Multicultural Women’s Association (Monika-Naiset liitto). The national helpline of Resource Center Monika serves from Mondays to Fridays, 9–16, at 0800 05058. The calls are taken by the Center's crisis workers. The helpline is intended for immigrant women who have experienced violence or threat thereof.

Shelter Mona's phone 045 639 6274 answers on a 24/7 basis. It is intended for women seeking shelter in crisis situations.

Crime victims, their close relatives and crime witnesses can also receive support and advice from Victim Support Finland (rikosuhripäivystys). The support number provides assistance in Finnish: 116 006

  • Monday and Tuesday from 1 pm to 9 pm
  • Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 5 pm to 9 pm

You can also send questions to Victim Support Finland via the Internet. The questions can be posted in Finnish, English and Swedish.

linkkiNational Institute for Health and Welfare:
Contact information of sheltersFinnish | Swedish

linkkiVictim Support Finland:
Aid to crime victimsFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiMonika – Multicultural Women’s Association:
Aid and support to immigrant womenFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Arabic

linkkiWomen's Line:
Aid and support to womenFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiMinistry of Justice:
"Child victims of crime" guide(pdf, 0,91 Mt)Finnish | Swedish

Sexual violence

The following are considered as sexual violence:

  • Rape
  • Forced sexual acts
  • Sexual abuse
  • Buying sex from persons under 18 years of age or victims of human trafficking
  • Sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years of age
  • Procuration

Rape is not sex, it is an exercise of power and subjugation. Sexual violence, coercion and abuse can also occur in couple relationships and marriages. Sexual violence is always an offence, even in marriage.

Sexual violence or abuse can affect the victim’s life in many ways. It can have a negative effect on working ability, mental health, relationships, parenting and life management. That is why it is important to seek help.

If you have experienced sexual violence, visit a doctor and file a report of the offence with the police.

Victims of sexual offences or spousal violence are entitled to free legal aid. For additional information, contact a Public Legal Aid Office (oikeusaputoimisto).

Help for victims of sexual violence

Tukinainen is a national rape crisis centre, which provides help and support to victims of sexual violence. The centre maintains a free-of-charge emergency helpline at 0800 97899. The helpline can be called:

  • Mon to Thu from 9 am to 3 pm
  • at weekends and on holidays from 3 pm to 9 pm

Support is provided in Finnish and English.

Tukinainen also maintains a legal consultation helpline (Juristipäivystys), which provides information and advice to victims of sexual offences and domestic violence. The telephone number for the Juristipäivystys legal consultations helpline is 0800 97895. You can call the helpline Mon–Thu from 1 pm to 4 pm.

You can also seek help at a crisis centre of the Finnish Association for Mental Health (Suomen Mielenterveysseura), which are located throughout Finland.

linkkiRape Crisis Centre Tukinainen:
Support for victims of sexual violenceFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiThe Finnish Association for Mental Health:
Crisis supportFinnish | Swedish | English

Help in stopping violent behaviour

Violence is always a crime. Persons who commit violent acts can also seek help to end the cycle. You can seek help and advice at your local social office (sosiaalitoimisto). Support is also provided by the Jussi activities (Jussi-työ) of the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters in the following municipalities: Helsinki, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Mikkeli, Oulu, Pori, Rovaniemi, Turku, Vaasa, Vantaa and Kotka-Kouvola.

Men’s Line (Miehen Linja) is a service for immigrant men who have behaved violently towards their partners or other family members or are afraid of doing so. The line is available Mon to Fri from 8 am to 4 pm at (09) 276 62899 in Finnish, English, Swedish, French and Greek. You can also be served in your native language via an interpreter.

Women who have behaved violently or are afraid they might do so may receive help from Maria Akatemia. You can call the Maria Akatemia national helpline, tel. (09) 7562 2260. The helpline provides assistance in Finnish, Swedish and English.

linkkiJussi-työ:
Help for men in stopping violent behaviourFinnish

linkkiLyömätön Linja:
Help for men in stopping violent behaviourFinnish | English

linkkiMiehen linja:
Help for immigrant menFinnish | English

linkkiMaria Akatemia:
Help for women in stopping violent behaviourFinnish | Swedish | English

Restraining order

If someone is continuously threatening or harassing you and you would like some protection, you can apply for a restraining order (lähestymiskielto). A restraining order means that the affected person is not allowed to contact you. You can apply for a restraining order at a police station or the district court (käräjäoikeus). Advice can be obtained from your local social office (sosiaalitoimisto) or Public Legal Aid Office (oikeusaputoimisto). If you have evidence of threats and harassment, keep the evidence in your possession.

linkkiPolice:
Information on restraining orderFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiMinistry of Justice:
Brochure on restraining order(pdf, 418,92 kt)Finnish | Swedish | English