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Many More Domestic-Violence Shelters Needed

Finland has just over 100 shelters for those fearing violence, but according to EU recommendations there should be nearly five times as many. However due to a shortage of funds, there are no prospects for setting up new shelters.

The need for safe houses for those seeking crisis help and emergency shelter is greatest in eastern and northern Finland.

Most of those using the shelters are female victims of domestic violence, typically with children and/or while pregnant. The services are also open to men threatened with violence because of debts, for instance.

These safe houses are run by municipalities or non-profit groups.

The largest such group, the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters, was founded in 1945. The NGO runs 14 shelters, 11 mother and child homes, and seven homes specialising in substance abuse treatment.

Finland has one of western Europe's highest rates of domestic violence. According to Statistics Finland, 43.5 percent of Finnish women surveyed had experienced physical or sexual violence or the threat of it from a man after the age of 15.

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