Skip to Content

Non-Discrimination Ombudsman raised concerns about violence against women to GREVIO

The Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) visited Finland on 15–19 January. The visit was part of the monitoring the implementation of the Istanbul Convention. The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman serves as the rapporteur on violence against women in Finland and met the committee together with other independent ombudsmen and fundamental and human rights actors. At the meeting, the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman raised their principal concerns regarding the prevention of violence against women in Finland. The measures taken to prevent violence must be gender sensitive, clearly coordinated at all levels of decision-making and provided with earmarked funding.

The Finnish government submitted its responses to GREVIO's themed questions before the visit. The questions dealt broadly with anti-violence structures, the prevention of violence, training provided to the authorities, and supporting and identifying victims in the service system. The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman also submitted their own views about the situation in Finland to the committee at the end of last year.

The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman has highlighted the following issues as the greatest concerns regarding violence against women:

• National anti-violence measures are not consistently gender sensitive across services.
• Anti-violence measures are not being coordinated at all levels of decision-making.
• The government does not evaluate the Budget from a gender perspective or assess the impact of cuts in general government finances on gender equality, non-discrimination and violence against women.

A gender-sensitive approach to violence should be ensured in public services. As research has shown that women who experience violence, for example in their relationship, very seldom tell authorities, identifying and supporting victims requires professionals of various fields to ask about violence on a regular basis.

According to the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, responsibilities for anti-violence measures should be clearly defined at all levels of decision-making. Well-being services counties and municipalities should follow the national instructions on the prevention of domestic violence. The Ombudsman is also in favour of mandatory legislation clarifying the structures for the prevention of violence at the regional and municipal levels.

The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman does not consider the resources allocated to the prevention of violence to be adequate, and cutbacks in public spending will cause the situation to deteriorate further. If the governments cuts the funding of the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (STEA), this will also reduce the opportunities of NGOs to provide gender-sensitive and female-specific services for victims and perpetrators of violence.

GREVIO evaluated Finland's will and actions to prevent violence against women. Finland has undertaken to comply with the Istanbul Convention, or the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The committee visited Finland on 15–19 January to evaluate national measures and meet with authorities and NGOs. GREVIO will issue its conclusions on the situation in Finland towards the end of the year. (For more information, please refer to Finland's national page on the Istanbul Convention website.)