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Study: Immigrant, disabled women face three times as much violence as others in Finland

An Interior Ministry report indicates that one-in-five women in Finland have experienced or are experiencing violence in their relationships.

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Image: Henrietta Lehtinen

Women in Finland are the second most-likely in the EU to experience violence in their personal relationships. According to a new study, only Denmark and Latvia (which shared the top spot) outstrip Finland in terms of the violence women face in relationships.

The report, commissioned by the Interior Ministry and released Thursday, looked at the security situation of different genders and groups in Finnish society.

In Finland, the report found, women experience violence in their personal relationships and at work. Among women in relationships, some 22 percent said they had experienced violence at the hands of current or past partners.

The majority of homicides where women are the victims occur in relationships. In 61 percent of cases, the aggressor is a partner, dating companion or a former partner and in nine percent of cases it is some other relative.

In 20 percent of cases, the perpetrator was someone known to the victim. In only 10 percent of homicides involving women did the woman not know the attacker at all.

The report also found that immigrant-background people and disabled young adults also experienced more violence and the threat of violence than other groups.

Greater risk for immigrant-background, disabled women

Immigrant-background and disabled women experience violence two to three times more than women from other groups in society.

According to the ministry, one of the risks facing some immigrant-background girls is Female Genital Mutilation.

Between 2010 and 2011, immigrants were two-and-a-half times more likely than Finns to be victims of assault offences. Migrants from the Middle East and Africa faced the highest risk of assault, while those with the lowest risk of being attacked came from East Asia, North America, Oceania and Southeast Asia.

The ministry concluded that there is a gender divide in terms of the factors that contribute to insecurity. Other variables such as age, location, income level, family background and education also seem to have a great impact on security.

The report also revealed that very little is known about the relative security of different groups in society.

The study relied on information and interviews gathered from organisations working in the security field. The Interior Ministry commissioned the report from auditing firm KPMG and consultancy agency World of Management.

It is part of the 100 Acts for Gender Equality project helmed by the National Council for Women in Finland and the Council for Gender Equality.

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