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How to ensure services for victims of domestic violence

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
8.10.2007 7.00
Press release -

Violence against women in still perceived as a private issue, not a serious crime. The problem often remains unidentified since the victim feels shame and guilt, and relatives or friends and authorities do not know how to or dare not intervene. Perpetrators of violence do not always recognise that they commit a crime in situations of domestic violence. There are not enough services available for the victims and perpetrators of violence or for exposed children and young people. The authorities and other helpers need better skills and knowledge to be able to recognise intimate partner violence, to intervene and to meet victims of violence.

The seminar organised together by the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Council of Europe and the Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre Hanasaari on services needed by victims of violence against women begins on Monday 8 October 2007 in Espoo, in the vicinity of Helsinki. The seminar is organised as part of the Council of Europe campaign to combat violence against women. The seminar in Hanasaari is attended by representatives from all the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries and Russia.

The Finnish Minister of Justice Tuija Brax and the Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General Maud de Boer-Buquiccio open the seminar on Monday. Thereafter Hilary Fisher, the chair of the task force of the Council of Europe campaign to combat violence against women, and the representative of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Ruth-Gaby Vermont-Mangold give the introductory addresses at the seminar.

On Monday the addresses deal with the authorities’ tasks in the prevention of violence against women, and services needed by women who have experienced violence. The methods of multiprofessional, multi-agency cooperation are discussed in addition.

On Tuesday the focus will be on particular needs of victims of domestic violence and building of services designed for them. I.a. Minister Stefan Wallin will give a speech about how important it is to make the violence against women visible. The Minister of Health and Social Services Paula Risikko will give the closing address.

Domestic violence is an offence against human rights

The Council of Europe launched its Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence, in November 2006. The purpose of the campaign is to raise issues related to violence against women and in particular domestic violence as a human rights offence. At the same time the Council of Europe wants to promote measures to prevent violence against women. It has urged the member states to carry out national campaigns around the issue.

The Finnish campaign to combat violence against women is still in the stages of planning. It is being planned and it will be implemented by NGOs together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Previous campaigns and programmes carried out in Finland are made use of in the planning and implementation of the campaign.

Fur further information please contact Helena Ewalds, Senior Officer, tel. +358 9 160 73775 or 050 466 2854 (member of the Council of Europe task force for the campaign), or Päivi Yli-Pietilä, Senior Officer, tel. +358 9 160 74889 or 050 4649 323 (the national contact person for the Council of Europe campaign).

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