Published: 1 June 2021

Recorded cases of domestic violence against minors decreased by 14 per cent

According to Statistics Finland’s data, there were 10,800 victims of domestic violence offences recorded by the police in 2020, which is 1.2 per cent down on the previous year. In domestic violence and intimate partner violence directed at adults, one-half took place between married or cohabiting couples. Of adult victims, 75.2 per cent were women. Of all victims, 21.3 per cent were minors.

Adult victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence by sex in 2009 to 2020

Adult victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence by sex in 2009 to 2020

There were 10,800 victims in domestic violence and intimate partner violence offences reported to the authorities in 2020, which is 1.2 per cent fewer than in the previous year. Among these victims, 78.4 per cent were adults. Children made up 21.3 per cent of the victims. Of the victims, 0.3 per cent had no information on age. Of adult victims, 75.2 per cent were women. Of all suspects, 78.1 per cent were men. The statistics include only cases reported to the authorities, by no means all cases of domestic violence and intimate partner violence are reported to the authorities.

In all, 39.5 per cent of domestic violence and intimate partner violence recorded in 2020 was violence between married or cohabiting couples, which is 2.9 percentage points higher than in 2019. The share has fallen slightly compared to the early 2010s. In 2020, altogether 19.5 per cent of domestic violence and intimate partner violence took place between former married or cohabiting couples. In slightly over 80 per cent of cases of violence between married or cohabiting couples and former married or cohabiting couples the victim was a woman. Violence between married or cohabiting couples and former married or cohabiting couples increased by around 150 cases (2.3 per cent) from the previous year. In 2020, the number of cases reported was 6,400. In these statistics, persons are considered former cohabiting couples if they have lived together during five years preceding the statistical reference year but no longer at the end of the statistical reference year.

Victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence 2011 to 2020

Relation between the victim and the suspect 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Total 10,466 10,855 9,682 9,128 9,965 10,139 9,814 10,244 10,926 10,793
Suspect is the parent of the victim 1,852 2,282 1,825 1,773 2,316 2,236 2,179 2,395 2,576 2,209
...Suspect is the biological or adoptive father of the victim 1,217 1,458 1,154 1,111 1,396 1,353 1,312 1,439 1,579 1,396
...Suspect is the biological or adoptive mother of the victim 508 699 568 567 795 759 757 830 893 715
...Suspect is a parent in the victim's family, not biological 127 125 103 95 125 124 110 126 104 98
Siblings 575 576 594 492 518 512 499 468 594 575
Directed by a child at his or her parent, total 517 506 483 501 474 507 490 566 615 665
Between spouses and co-habitating partners total 4,459 4,425 3,831 3,581 3,663 3,826 3,435 3,654 3,995 4,259
...Co-habiting partner 1,656 1,643 1,427 1,361 1,614 1,625 1,429 1,494 1,644 1,632
...Spouse 2,803 2,782 2,404 2,220 2,049 2,201 2,006 2,160 2,351 2,627
Former spouse 895 855 832 797 784 848 838 840 851 513
Former co-habitating partner 1,557 1,622 1,508 1,465 1,385 1,348 1,396 1,382 1,370 1,590
Other person living in the same household 49 61 57 59 316 325 384 414 392 424
Cousin 32 38 36 25 30 22 20 33 28 39
The victim and suspect have a common child 530 490 516 435 479 515 573 492 505 520

In 2020, recorded domestic violence and intimate partnership violence directed by parents against their children decreased: a total of 2,200 cases were recorded, which is 20.5 per cent of all reported cases of domestic violence and intimate partner violence. Compared with 2019, the drop was nearly 400 cases, or 14.2 per cent. In cases of violence between siblings, close on 600 cases were recorded, in which one in four victims were underage.

Adult victims

Of victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence, close on 8,500 were adults. Slightly over one-half of them were aged between 25 and 44. Of the victims, 75.2 per cent were women. The share of women has decreased by nearly six percentage points from 2009. In turn, 80.8 per cent of suspects were men. The share of male suspects has fallen by around five percentage points from 2009. In every third case where the victim was a man, the suspect was also a man. In contrast, in cases where the victim was a woman, the suspect was a woman in only close on four per cent of cases.

In 2020, altogether 50.3 per cent of domestic violence and intimate partner violence cases directed at adults took place between married or cohabiting couples. The share grew by close on two percentage points from the previous year. Sixty-two per cent of violence between couples was between married couples and 38 per cent between cohabiting couples. In 40 per cent of cases where the victim was a man, the victim’s current married or cohabiting spouse was the suspect. Slightly over one half of the cases where the victim was a woman, the suspect was the victim's current married or cohabiting spouse.

One-quarter (24.7%) of all violence against adults was violence between former married or cohabiting couples. This is two percentage points lower than in the year before. A former cohabiting partner refers to a spouse with whom the victim has cohabited during the past five years but not in the statistical reference year.

In addition, the victim and suspect had a child together in six per cent of cases. Current and former married or cohabiting couples can also have a common child but in this examination, we have primarily established who are married or cohabiting and only then looked at whether the victim and suspect have a common child.

In cases of slightly more than every tenth male victim, the suspect was the victim’s sister or brother.

Of domestic violence and intimate partner violence directed at adults, around 75 per cent were assaults. Around 20 per cent were menaces. For men, the share of assaults was slightly higher and the share of menaces slightly lower than for women. The share of sexual offences in domestic violence and intimate partner violence was close on two per cent.

Underage victims

In 2,300 recorded cases of domestic violence and intimate partner violence in 2019 the victim was aged under 18. The share of underage victims has increased from around 18 per cent in 2009 to close on 25 per cent in 2019. However, the share fell to 21.3 per cent in 2020. The recorded number of underage victims has grown partly as a result of legislative changes. 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.

Child victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence by sex in 2009 to 2020

Child victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence by sex in 2009 to 2020

Of domestic violence and intimate partner violence cases directed at minors, around 95 per cent were committed by adults. Sixty-seven per cent of violence by adults against minors were committed by men in 2020. The share of men as suspects has decreased from nearly 75 per cent in 2009.

Of minor victims, 50.3 per cent were boys. In 2019, the share of boys was 52.2 per cent. Among victims aged under 10, slightly under 60 per cent were boys. The share of girls increases as the age of the victim grows: of victims aged 10 to 14 nearly 60 per cent and of victims aged 15 to 17 slightly over 60 per cent are girls.

Of all underage victims, 22 per cent were aged under five, 37 per cent were aged between five and nine, 27 per cent between 10 and 14 and 14 per cent between 15 and 17.

Recurrence of domestic violence and intimate partner violence

In 2020, altogether 10,800 cases of domestic violence and intimate partner violence were recorded, and they had 8,100 different victims. Around 20 per cent of the victims or 1,700 persons had been the victim of domestic violence and intimate partner violence more than once in 2020. There were 1,400 adult victims of repeated violence of whom over 80 per cent were women.

In 2009 to 2020, there were 11,100 persons among the 73,500 victims of domestic and intimate partner violence that, according to the police, have been victims of domestic and intimate partner violence in at least two different years and 2,900 in at least three different years. Among adults, around 9,500 had been victims in at least two different years, 83 per cent of whom were women. Among adults who had been victims in at least three different years, 89 per cent were women. There were slightly under 1,400 underage persons who had been victims in several years.

Data file

The domestic violence and intimate partner violence data were formed based on register data of offences recorded by the police. Information about domicile, family status and children, parents, spouses and registered partnerships has been combined from Statistics Finland's data for the victim and suspect in the police Patja system of crime reporting 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. An examination of whether the victim and suspect have a common child has been added to the statistical data. If the victim and suspect are a cohabiting or married couple or a former married or cohabiting couple they are primarily included in these categories and only then do we examine whether the victim and suspect have a common child. Starting from 2020, cohabiting partners are sought for five previous years. Earlier, only the previous year was examined. The time series has been revised retrospectively and for this reason the figures have changed slightly.

Starting from 2015, we have also considered whether the victim and suspect have lived in the same dwelling in any month during the statistical reference year. We have formed cohabiting couples of those living in the same dwelling if both are aged over 18, are of opposite sexes and their age difference is under 16 years. 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), coercion (Chapter 25, Section 8) and trafficking in human beings (Chapter 25, Section 3). In addition, robberies (Chapter 31, Section 1) and extortions (Chapter 31, Section 3) are included.


Source: Statistics on offences and coercive measures 2020, Statistics Finland

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

Head of Department in charge: Hannele Orjala

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Tables

Tables in databases

Appendix tables


Updated 1.6.2021

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Statistics on offences and coercive measures [e-publication].
ISSN=2342-9178. 15 2020. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 27.11.2021].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/rpk/2020/15/rpk_2020_15_2021-06-01_tie_001_en.html