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1 in 3 Women in Finland Experience Intimate Partner Violence


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Women tend to encounter repeated and severe forms of violence, while men are more likely to experience one-off incidents of violence, finds a new study by Statistics Finland.

The agency’s report — entitled Gendered and Domestic Violence in Finland — was carried out in 2021 and found that the majority of women aged 16-74 and men between 18-74 reported experiencing some form of violence at some point in their lives.

The study found that women more frequently encounter repeated and severe forms of violence in society, while men are more likely to experience isolated incidents. A significant portion of the violence against women is sexual violence.

In intimate relationships, one in every three women and approximately one in every six men have experienced violence from their current or former partner.

By the age of 16, nearly half of the population, including 46 percent of women and 42 percent of men, have experienced violence inflicted by someone other than their partner. Men typically encounter physical violence and threats, while women are more likely to experience sexual violence.

“Experiences of sexual violence are most common among women aged 16 to 34,” said Henna Attila in an agency release.

Forty-three percent of women and 12 percent of men have experienced sexual violence, according to the study.

Alcohol and social exclusion

In recent years, the police have annually recorded around 36,000 crimes involving harm to individuals’ well-being and health, explained Pekka Heikkinen, a domestic violence expert at the National Police Board.

However, last year that number rose to 40,000.

When it comes to men, violence largely occurs on weekend nights and is often linked to alcohol consumption.

“Very often, the same individuals repeatedly engage in violent behavior, and unfortunately, it’s also the case that the same individuals are also repeated victims of violence,” said Heikkinen.

Heikkinen emphasised that violence is strongly linked to underlying social problems, such as social exclusion, with drinking easily fuelling conflicts and violence.

He added that the number of sexual offenses is expected to rise to around 7,000 this year. Last year’s figure was about 6,000, and before that, it was 5,000.

Hidden violence

Much violence in Finnish society remains hidden, as victims rarely report their experiences to the authorities. Researchers at Statistics Finland found that around one in ten victims report their experience of violence to the police.

Only half of those who have experienced intimate partner violence had confided in someone about it, and less than a tenth had reported it to the authorities. Women tend to disclose incidents of violence more frequently than men, and older women more so than younger women, according to the study.

A positive development, according to Heikkinen, was that help is increasingly available not only for victims of crimes and violence, but also for those who recognise their own violent behaviour and want to address it.

People’s awareness and understanding of violence have also evolved over the years, according to Heikkinen.

“Traditionally, violence has been seen as physical violence, but now we also understand and recognise psychological abuse and mistreatment,” he explained.

The study carried out by Statistics Finland included a sample of 25,000 individuals. The undertaking was part of an EU-wide research project aiming to map the prevalence of intimate partner violence in different member states.

As part of the Eurostat initiative, the study was primarily focused on women aged 18 to 74. However, the Finnish national sample also included men.

Source: Yle


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