Help is available for both victims and perpetrators of violence – Helsinki campaigning against violence in close relationships 

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s School Health Promotion study shows that violence against children perpetrated by caregivers or adults caring for children continues to increase in Helsinki. At present, approximately one in five boys in grades four and five have experienced physical violence during the past year, and nearly half of girls in grades eight and nine have experienced emotional violence perpetrated by the adults caring for them. Furthermore, over 8% of Helsinki residents aged 20–64 and over 4% of those over the age of 65 experienced domestic violence in 2022. Women experience violence in close relationships more often than men.
A woman holds her fingers in front of her face.
The overarching message of the campaign is that shame should not be an obstacle to seeking help, and help is available for both victims and perpetrators of violence. Photo: N2 Helsinki

Violence in close relationships refers to violence committed and experienced by persons who are or used to be in a close relationship with one another. This type of violence can be directed against a current or former partner, a child, a close relative or other loved one. The violence can be not only physical, but also emotional, sexual or economic. The impacts of violence in close relationships are long-lasting and serious.

The City of Helsinki is launching a campaign to prevent violence in close relationships and communicate about the help available to both perpetrators and victims. The purpose of the campaign is to help both the victims and perpetrators of violence identify different forms of violence in close relationships, to increase understanding of everyone's right to bodily integrity and safe life and to provide information on the forms of help available. 

The campaign provides children and young people with five key messages about their fundamental rights, which are based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. To help convey these messages, the campaign utilises the ‘put a finger down’ format popular on social media. The campaign also encourages children and young people to report any violence that they themselves or their loved ones may have experienced. The part of the campaign aimed at children and young people is a continuation of the previous campaign carried out in 2022. This year, the ‘You can be hurt even by a loved one’ campaign is also aimed at adults, who can use the five key messages to examine the limits of what constitutes violence and their own actions. The overarching message of the campaign is that shame should not be an obstacle to seeking help, and help is available for both victims and perpetrators of violence.

The campaign will be carried out on social media and as outdoor advertising. The campaign materials will also be displayed at the locations of the City of Helsinki Education Division, Culture and Leisure Division and social services and health care services.

The campaign to prevent violence in close relationships is produced by the City of Helsinki in close cooperation with organisations and other operators in the field. The campaign participants include the Online Shelter and OnksOK service of the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters, the family counselling service of the parishes of Helsinki, Föräldrachatten, Loisto setlementti ry, Luckan’s Ärligt talat support chat, the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, Maria Akatemia, Miessakit ry’s Lyömätön Linja, MONIKA – Multicultural Women’s Association, Nollalinja, the Finnish Red Cross’s Youth Shelter, Pääkaupungin turvakoti ry and Turvallisen vanhuuden puolesta – Suvanto ry.

The ‘You can be hurt even by a loved one’ campaign will launch on 23 October 2023.

Instructions on how to seek help for violence in close relationships:

Put a finger down if

– you cannot be yourself at home
– someone makes you feel worthless
– you are scared at home, at school or with friends
– you are not taken care of
– your bodily integrity has been violated.

Do you recognise violence in close relationships?

– Do you scream, rage or break things?
– Do you belittle, threaten or blackmail a loved one?
– Do you control the activities, spending or relationships of a loved one?
– Are you physically violent towards a loved one?
– Do you perform sexual acts against the other person's will?