Finland: Problems dealing with domestic violence among immigrants

Finland: Problems dealing with domestic violence among immigrants

Organisations aimed at supporting immigrant families say there is a steady increase in the need for help. Often problems are caused or exacerbated by cultural differences and a lack of integration into Finnish society.

Domestic violence is a common problem for immigrant families, as it is for other families in Finland.

In 2005 the Men's Line phone service was set up to counsel violent immigrant men and their families, with funding from the Finnish Slot Machine Association and more recently from the city of Espoo. The director of the service, Jari Hautamäki, notes that certain practices that are part of normal family life in some cultures are seen as violence by Finnish standards.

Hautamäki adds that it can be difficult to convince men with foreign backgrounds to commit to the counselling process.

"In certain communities, many issues, including violence, are handled within the community and not discussed with outsiders," he says.

Estonian-born Reet Nurmi helped to set up the Monika organisation for immigrant women in 1998. Its purposes include developing and offering "services for immigrant women and children who are suffering from intimate relationship violence, honour related violence, forced marriages or are victims of human trafficking".

She says that systems for helping newcomers to integrate into Finnish society do not work as they should.


Source: YLE (English)

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