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Increase in reported domestic violence cases in Finland

Of nearly 10,000 victims involved in reports to authorities last year, more than three quarters were women.

Nainen lapsi sylissään ikkunan ääressä.
One-quarter of all domestic violence victims reported to Finnish authorities last year were children. Image: Derrick Frilund / Yle

Last year there were 9,900 cases of domestic violence and intimate partner violence offences reported to Finnish authorities, which is a 3.6 percent increase compared to 2017, according to Statistics Finland. Intimate partners are current or former spouses or partners in an intimate relationship.

Men were most commonly suspected of domestic or intimate partner violence, with nearly 78 percent of suspects being male.

"The statistics only include cases reported to the authorities, [and] by no means all cases of domestic violence and intimate partner violence are reported to the authorities," the agency said on Thursday.

Last year, the National Institute for Health and Welfare, THL, reported that 130,000 people in intimate relationships had been victims of violence.

The statistics agency said that domestic violence between married and divorced couples increased by nearly four percentage points, with 200 more cases in 2018 than the previous year - with 5,400 such cases reported to authorities.

One-fifth recurrent victims

Overall, the number crunching agency said that 37.5 percent of domestic violence and intimate partner violence in 2018 was between married or cohabiting couples, representing a 1.4 percentage point increase over the previous year.

Around 2,400 of the victims were under the age of 18, accounting for one quarter of all domestic violence incidents reported to police.

The share of underage victims has risen over the past several years (from 18% in 2009 to 25% in 2018), but the agency attributed part of that increase to amendments in the Child Welfare Act, "which extended the reporting obligation in cases where an offence against a child's life or health is suspected."

However, nearly 1,000 minors were victims of violence over the course of several years, according to the agency.

About one fifth of the 9,900 reported incidents - or around 1,500 people - had been victims more than once during 2018.

Roughly 1,200 adult victims of repeated violence were reported to authorities, 84 percent of them women.

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