At least 130,000 in Finland suffered domestic violence in 2017

A report published by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) on Thursday suggests that more people in Finland are experiencing domestic violence – or at least are more inclined to reach out to a state helpline or shelter for support.

Nollalinja, a 24-hour support line, received nearly 8,000 calls last year – or nearly one per hour.

The free phone number, which is supported by the THL and the Justice Ministry, began operations in December 2016, so no comparable long-term figures are yet available. However, the number of callers to the service rose steadily throughout 2017.

The service offers free, anonymous 24/7 counselling in Finnish, Swedish and English to anyone who has experienced psychological, physical or sexual violence or threat of violence in an intimate or family relationship.

During the past year, 130,000 people were victims of violence that had occurred within intimate relationships, says the THL. It estimates that nearly five percent of women experienced threats or violence during the year, along with 2.5 percent of men.

However the institute notes that many cases of violence in intimate or family relationships remain unknown to authorities. A 2012 study suggested that police only learned of about one-tenth of cases of serious violence against a partner involving people over age 15.