Published: 30 May 2016

Nearly 70 per cent of victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence were women

According to Statistics Finland's data, there were 8,800 victims in domestic violence offences reported to the authorities in 2015, which is 6.7 per cent more than in the previous year. Of victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence, 67.9 per cent were women. However, good one-half of aggravated assaults and attempted homicides were directed at men. Among suspects of domestic violence and intimate partner violence, 77.8 per cent were men. One-quarter of the victims were underage.

Victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence by sex in 2010 to 2015

Victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence by sex in 2010 to 2015

Of domestic violence and intimate partner violence recorded in 2015, 40.7 per cent was violence between married or cohabiting couples. The share is nearly three percentage points lower than in 2014. Close on one-fifth of domestic violence and intimate partner violence took place between former married or cohabiting couples. In around 80 per cent of cases of violence between married or cohabiting couples and former married or cohabiting couples the victim was a woman. In numbers, violence between married or cohabiting couples and former married or cohabiting couples was on level with the previous year. In 2015, the number of cases reported was 5,300. In these statistics, persons are considered former cohabiting couples if they have lived together in the year preceding the statistical reference year but not in the statistical reference year.

If we look at only domestic violence and intimate partner violence against adults, 32.3 per cent of cases occurred between married couples, 22.6 per cent between cohabiting couples, 11.6 per cent between former married couples and 14.0 per cent between former cohabiting couples. In all, 80.5 per cent of all domestic violence and intimate partner violence against adults took place between present and former married or cohabiting couples. Among men, the share was 59.0 per cent and among women 87.4 per cent. The number of male victims was 950 and that of female victims 4,300.

Good one-half of attempted homicides and aggravated assaults were directed towards men. When the victim was a man, the offender was also a man in one-half of the cases. When a woman was a victim of an aggravated assault or attempted homicide, the suspect was a man in over 90 per cent of the cases. In 2015, there were 292 aggravated assaults or attempted homicides, of which 157 were directed at men.

Victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence 2010 to 2015

Relation between the victim and the suspect/year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Total 5,768 9,660 10,053 8,802 8,245 8,794
Suspect is the parent of the victim 1,393 1,876 2,311 1,862 1,799 2,315
Siblings 288 574 572 586 486 505
Directed by a child at his or her parent 289 510 505 469 487 470
Between spouses, total 2,469 4,444 4,424 3,805 3,572 3,581
...Spouse 1,548 2,780 2,765 2,387 2,196 2,105
...Co-habiting partner 921 1,664 1,659 1,418 1,376 1,476
Former spouse 530 970 920 873 830 760
Former co-habiting partner 606 979 1,014 948 885 915
Other person living in the same household 193 307 307 259 186 248

Of all recorded domestic violence and intimate partner violence cases, over one-half were assaults and nearly one-quarter petty assaults. Good 14 per cent of all cases were menaces and nearly two per cent sexual exploitations of a child. Of the suspects, close on one-half were under the influence of alcohol or some other intoxicant at the time of committing the offence. Slightly over one-half of domestic violence and intimate partner violence took place between persons living in the same household.

Underage victims

The legislative amendment, which entered into force at the beginning of 2011, considerably increased the number of recorded assault offences. After the legislative amendment, petty assaults on minors or close relatives became officially prosecutable. In addition, at the beginning of April 2015, an amendment to the Child Welfare Act (1302/2014) came into effect, which extended the reporting obligation in cases where an offence against a child's life or health is suspected. In 2015, cases of violence directed by parents against their underage children increased by 29.0 per cent compared with the previous year. Acts against boys grew by 37.9 per cent and those against girls by 19.6 per cent. The amendments also appear to have increased the proportion of women as suspects of all domestic violence and intimate partner violence. In 2010, the proportion of women suspected of domestic violence and intimate partner violence was 19.6 per cent, and in 2015 the corresponding proportion was 22.2 per cent.

Around one-third of violence directed by parents against their children was carried out by women. The share of violence performed by women was, however, the higher the younger the child victim is. In cases where the victim was under six years old, the suspect was a woman (the child's mother) in 36.9 per cent of cases. When the victim was aged between 15 and 17, the suspect was a woman in 31.6 per cent of cases. The absolute numbers are relatively small, so even the slightest changes can have a big effect on the percentage shares.

Violence directed at underage children by their parents 2015

Victim's age/person suspected Male Female Person suspected total
Number % Number % Number
0 - 6 522 63.0 306 36.9 828
7 - 14 673 62.8 398 37.1 1,071
15 - 17 162 68.3 75 31.6 237
Total 1,357 63.5 779 36.4 2,136

Recurrence of domestic violence and intimate partner violence

In 2009 to 2015, there were 3,500 victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence that, according to the police, have been victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence in at least two different years and 650 in three different years. Women made up 76 per cent of those having become victims in two years and 85 per cent in three years. There were 470 underage persons that had been victims in several years.

A person can also appear a victim of domestic violence and intimate partner violence several times in one year. In 2015, there were 8,800 cases of domestic violence and intimate partner violence with 6,900 different victims. Around 1,300 of the victims were persons, who had been the victim of domestic violence and intimate partner violence more than once in 2015.

The age and sex distribution of victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence differs from the general age and sex distribution of victims of violent offences. In 2015, the victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence were women in 67.9 per cent of cases, while, in general, the victims of violent offences were women in 45.1 per cent of cases. Only among victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence aged under 15, the victim was a man more often than a woman. In general, the victims of violent offences are more often men than women. Further information can be found in the appendix table.

Data material

The domestic violence and intimate partner violence data were formed based on register data. Information about domicile, family status and children, parents, spouses and registered partnerships has been combined for the victim and suspect from Statistics Finland's data. It has been established whether the victim and suspect are cohabiting based on family status and domicile data. The register data are from the statistical reference year. The data also take into consideration cases where the victim and suspect have been cohabiting in the year preceding the statistical reference year. All offences that were reported in the statistical reference year are included, so the offence can have taken place in an earlier year. In addition to sexual offences in Chapter 20 of the Criminal Code and offences against life and health in Chapter 21, offences related to domestic violence and intimate partner violence include deprivation of personal liberty (Criminal Code, Chapter 25, Sections 1 to 2), menace (Chapter 25, Section 7), stalking (Chapter 25, Section 7a), and coercion (Chapter 25, Section 8).

The statistics on Offences known to the police and on Coercive measures were combined in March 2015. Data released prior to that can be found on the old home pages of the statistics. The web pages of the statistics on Offences known to the police: http://www.tilastokeskus.fi/til/polrik/index_en.html and of the statistics on Coercive measures: http://tilastokeskus.fi/til/pkei/index_en.html


Source: Statistics on offences and coercive measures 2015, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Kimmo Haapakangas 029 551 3252, kimmo.haapakangas@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

Publication in pdf-format (216.1 kB)

Tables

Tables in databases

Appendix tables


Updated 30.5.2016

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Statistics on offences and coercive measures [e-publication].
ISSN=2342-9178. Domestic violence and intimate partner violence 2015. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 18.6.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/rpk/2015/15/rpk_2015_15_2016-05-30_tie_001_en.html