The next government must combat violence against women – Non-Discrimination Ombudsman recommends several measures for the upcoming government programme
As the National Rapporteur on violence against women, the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman calls for the next government to take action to combat violence against women and gives a number of recommendations to that effect for the government programme. Violence against women is a serious human rights violation and a structural equality issue in Finland. The work for reducing violence against women must be continued with determination.
Violence against women remains alarmingly common in Finland. Finland has an obligation to combat violence against women and has made commitments to do so already in the late 1980s. By many indicators, Finland is a successful country in terms of gender equality. Finland has everything it needs to ensure the full realisation of women's rights and reduce violence against women with determination.
The work to combat violence must be gender-sensitive, target-oriented and systematic. Wellbeing services counties and municipalities must invest in services, assistance, support and protection for female victims of violence. This also applies to perpetrator risk assessments and programmes for breaking the cycle of violence.
Recommendations of the National Rapporteur on violence against women for the government programme
As the National Rapporteur on violence against women, the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman recommends a number of measures to improve the efficiency of combating violence against women in the next government programme. You will find a complete list of these recommendations below.
A solid framework must be built for combating violence against women
The National Rapporteur on violence against women recommends that a coordinated, cross-administrative framework encompassing central government, the wellbeing services counties and the municipal level be created for combating violence.
MARAK must be made permanent and nation-wide
The National Rapporteur on violence against women recommends the MARAK risk assessment system for serious intimate partner violence be made permanent and extended to cover the whole country.
The Criminal Code requires amendment
The National Rapporteur on violence against women recommends that the Criminal Code as a whole and its amendment needs be assessed from the perspective of gender equality. The Criminal Code should be amended to better address the specific features of intimate partner violence.
The National Rapporteur on violence against women considers that providing for a dedicated statutory definition for intimate partner violence should be considered in assessing the amendment needs. In any case, a close relationship between the perpetrator and injured party should be added to the ”aggravating circumstances” listed in the Criminal Code. The amendment should add a new aggravating circumstance to the statutory definitions of key offences and a new grounds for increasing the punishment to the sentencing provisions.
The legislation must be amended so that, when a parent is suspected of a violent or sexual offence against a child, a temporary public guardian will always be urgently appointed for the child without hearing the parents.
Effective work to combat violence against women requires information
The National Rapporteur on violence against women recommends that the registers and statistics kept by the authorities be developed to enable the monitoring of the prevalence of violence against women and assessment of the effectiveness of the measures taken to combat it.
The prevalence and forms of violence against women, effectiveness of the work to combat it, victims' access to services and the processing of violence in criminal proceedings require long-term, systematic study. Data collection and analysis must be continuous and chronologically comparable so that official registers and statistics can support the monitoring.