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Violence against women

There are many forms of violence against women, including sexual violence, domestic violence, psychological violence, stalking, honour-based violence, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, forced abortion, forced sterilisation and sex trafficking. Anyone can become a victim of nearly all the above forms of violence, but most often the victim is a woman. According to Statistics Finland, in 2019 for example, 77 per cent of the victims of intimate partner violence were women.

Members of minorities are also more vulnerable to violence. The Ministry of the Interior’s report from 2018 states that women with disabilities and women with a foreign background are exposed to 2-3 times more violence than women in the general population and that the risk for women with a foreign background to fall victim to rape is almost twice as high compared to women in the general population.

Violence against women is an issue of gender equality because it is based on unequal power erlations between the sexes. That is also why it is considered a specific, widespread human right issue. Every third woman in the world has been subjected to physical or sexual violence and in some countries the figure rises to 70 percent. According to the Women’s Line, psychological violence is the most common form of violence.

Women typically encounter violence at home, in other private spaces and at work. The amount of harassment and even violence online is growing.

We know that repeated and renewed violence in relationships occurs more often to women than to men. The contributing factors include women’s subordinate position relative to men, which is due to both cultural factors and difference in physical strength. The report on crimes against life from 2020 states that the number of women who have died annually as victims of crimes against life has varied between 16 and 30 during the years 2013–2019. 60 percent of the female victims had been killed by their husband, partner or ex-partner. Read more: Domestic Violence

Violence against women is encountered in all social classes. Contrary to popular belief, the perpetrators are not always under the influence of alcohol, nor can they be profiled based on their lifestyle. According to the national crime victim survey, 5 percent of the women had been subjected to violence by their former or current spouse or partner’s physical or sexual violence, or exposed to threats of violence in 2018.

According to a survey published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in 2014, women in Finland are significantly more exposed to violence than other women in the EU countries in average.  According to the report, 53 percent of the women had been subjected to some form of psychological violence by their current or former partner, and an average of 30 percent had been subjected to physical or sexual violence by their current or former partner. About 20 percent of the respondents said they had experienced stalking.

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence  (Istanbul Convention) was enacted in Finland on 1 August 2015. It covers all forms of violence that target women and girls on the basis of their sex. In Finland it is also applied to men and boys who experience domestic violence. The convention focuses on the prevention of violence, but it also contains obligations for the protection of victims and for the punishment of perpetrators.

Service numbers and chat services for victims of violence:

Service numbers for victims of sexual violence:

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