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Finland is EU’s second most violent country for women

A major new study by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency has found that 47 percent of women in Finland have experienced physical or sexual violence at some time since the age of 15. Only Danish women were found to have experienced more abuse out of the 28 countries studied.

Image: Mikko Stig / Lehtikuva

Over the past year 42,000 women were interviewed across the whole European Union for the research, in the most extensive study into violence against women and girls ever conducted.

In all of the six main areas covered by the survey, Finland was found to have levels of physical and sexual violence against women that were at times significantly above the European average. Almost half of Finnish women - 47 percent - reported having experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15, compared to a Europe-wide average of 33 percent.

Slightly higher numbers of women in Finland said they had experienced physical violence by a non-partner (30 percent) than those suffering physical abuse from a partner (27 percent). However, in both these cases the levels in Finland were around 50 per cent higher than the European average of 20 per cent.

Milla Aaltonen, from the Finnish League for Human Rights – the country's representative of the Fundamental Rights Agency, who carried out the research – said that the prevalence of domestic abuse has been known about for a long time. “Nonetheless, these figures are shocking,” she said. “Violence against women is a serious human rights violation. Today’s study confirms that Finland is one of Europe’s most violent places for women,” Aaltonen said.

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