Violence in close relationships - Police
Domestic violence refers to violence against:
- a current or former partner
- a child
- a close relative
- another person close to the perpetrator.
Domestic violence often occurs at home or in other private places. The violence may have continued a long time and may not come to the police’s attention immediately.
Violence in close relationships has significant consequences for the whole family, even if the violence is only directed against one family member. A victim of violence may be in a difficult position, if he/she is financially dependent on the perpetrator, for example. Fear and shame often keep the victim from contacting the police.
The police are obligated to report domestic violence
According to the law, the police are obligated to report violence in close relationships as part of their duties. The purpose of this is to intervene in the violence. The police may direct victims to apply for a restraining order or order a temporary restraining order that will be confirmed by a court.
Forms of violence in close relationships can be, for example, intimate partner violence, mistreatment of a child, honour-based violence, mistreatment of the elderly or violence directed against the disabled, sexual minorities and other special groups.
If you have been a victim of domestic violence, or fear for yourself or your family members:
- If the situation is urgent, call 112.
- Seek help. There are many assistance organisations available. Contact the police, social services, Victim Support Finland, a mother and child home or shelter, or another assistance organisation. Sometimes telling a close friend and asking for help can be a start for solving the issue.
- Prepare a safety plan.
- If the situation is not urgent, you can get help from various counselling organisations.
- Remember that also a violent person can get help.
- Do not wait. Asking for help also helps the other family members.
- The first blow is rarely the last.