The demand for shelter has gone up over the last few Midsummers, notes Ritva Karinsalo, Managing Director of the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters.
“Before it was quiet during special holidays, after which we would see a rise in the number of clients. Now the situation has changed,” she says.
According to Karinsalo, recent family massacres have been wake-up calls for those at risk and for social workers. The threat of violence is now being taken more seriously.
“An upcoming holiday was an element in many of the recent family killings,” Karinsalo observes.
Clientele of shelters getting younger
People come to shelters to get away from domestic violence or its perceived threat.
Statistics show an increase in the number of young women and mothers of small children seeking protection, as compared with 5-10 years before. In the past, it was mainly older women who came looking for help.
“We can see younger people awakening to the need to establish whether what they are experiencing is violence, and how to act in their situation,” Karinsalo says.
Detailed statistics specifically concerning Midsummer are not yet available.
The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters maintains shelters in 14 localities. In addition to these, municipalities also offer shelters from family violence.