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Domestic violence and intimate partner violence

Domestic violence and intimate partner violence are any kind of mental, physical, or sexual violence between people who are currently or have been in an intimate relationship. In addition to spouses and partners, this also includes violence by a close person against a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person.

Women and men, as well as children and the elderly, can suffer from violence. In the most common case, a man uses violence against a female family member, especially a spouse or partner. Therefore, the most unsafe place for many women is their home. Assault of any kind, both inside and outside the home, is a criminal offense.

Often, the person who "cares" about us the most hurts us the most. Therefore, it is difficult to seek help because we can fear, hate, and love the abuser at the same time.

In most cases, women suffer from intimate partner violence because they are often physically and economically weaker than men. However, men can also suffer from intimate partner violence. It is important that a person dares to seek help regardless of their gender.

What is the manifestation of violence?

  • In case of physical violence, one person physically hurts another: hits them, burns them, strangles them, etc. Physical violence is the easiest to recognize.
  • Psychological violence is characterized by fear of the perpetrator. This includes emotional abuse involving the undermining of another person's dignity. Often, the abuser isolates the person from friends, family, school, and work.
  • In the case of sexual violence, a person forces another person to perform sexual activities against their will.
  • In economic violence, one person makes another person financially dependent on them, for example, by controlling their bank account or denying them access to work or school.

Often, a person suffering from violence feels that they are to blame for what happened, which is why it is difficult for them to talk about what is happening. However, peaceful tolerance of violence is not a solution. Violence also has many different forms, and therefore, it is sometimes difficult to recognize it. Consult our specialists as soon as you feel that something is wrong in your intimate relationship or family. 

Contact the Social Insurance Board's victim support helpline at 116 006 or find the nearest women's support center or sexual violence crisis support center.

How do you help a loved one in an abusive relationship?

A person in an abusive relationship feels lonely and scared. That's why you need to recognize the signs that point to an abusive relationship and be supportive. Encourage the person to talk about their concerns, express your concerns, support and encourage them. If you feel that your knowledge is lacking, consult the police or a victim support worker.

How to you protect yourself in an abusive relationship?

  • If you feel that the situation is dangerous for you, immediately call the alarm center on the number 112. Don't be afraid to call the police - this way, you can save both yourself and your children from violence.
  • Think about the safety of yourself and your children. Discuss your security and escape plan with a trusted person. For example, a victim support worker or an employee of a women's support center can help you draw up a security plan. It is good to make a plan in a safe place because you may be in a state of shock during the occurrence of the violence.
  • If you prepare a security plan, think about why you shouldn't go to a safe place today.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel like you're in danger, you probably are. Sometimes, the abuser's behavior shows signs that they may get upset and use violence. Pack the essentials and save enough money if possible. Leave these things with a friend or at work. Be prepared to leave as soon as possible to a safe place, such as a women's shelter. 
  • Agree on a call for help or a password (SMS, agreed icon on FB) with your loved ones, which you can use to safely signal that you are in danger. Also, agree on a password with the children.
  • In case of injuries, make sure that you get medical help as soon as possible. Injuries can be more serious than you think at first glance.
  • Also, consult a doctor who will record the injuries and take the necessary samples. It is important that this is done as soon as possible so that the doctor can get as much evidence as possible. Make sure the doctor documents your injuries. If you don't want to see a doctor or if you doubt whether to file a report with the police, take a picture of your injuries. This is how you fix the time when the injuries occurred.
  • Keep a diary. Record acts of violence and threats by date.
  • Preserve evidence if possible. Keep threatening letters, e-mails, medical certificates, SMS, etc.
  • Also, talk to children about violence at home and teach children who to contact if they are with the abuser and are afraid.

How do we collect evidence of experienced intimate partner violence?

Helpful guidelines for gathering evidence in criminal proceedings.

The guidelines are primarily intended for victims of intimate partner violence, but actually also for professionals who help them. The purpose of the guidelines is to provide instructions in simple and understandable language about the experience of intimate partner violence in order to collect evidence suitable for criminal proceedings (e.g., how to photograph a physical injury so that the photo taken can be used as evidence in criminal proceedings, etc.). 

What do you do if you realized that your partner is violent?
  • Tell your best friend or someone you trust a lot about your worries.
  • Seek help from organizations or associations that can help you, for example, the police at 112, the Social Insurance Board's victim support helpline at 116 006, women's support centers, and the perpetrators' support line at 6 606 077.
  • If you decide to leave your partner, think carefully about each step - what will you do the next time they call you, you get together, they show up at your door, etc? If possible, express yourself concretely and refrain from lengthy explanations. If your partner continues to contact you in a disturbing way, inform them again in writing that you do not want to communicate with them. If the harassment continues, you can always contact the police and file a report of harassing stalking.
  • Consider that the abuser can do everything to win you back. However, this does not mean that the violence will disappear - later, everything will happen again, and the violence will only get bigger.
  • Don't think everything is your fault. The abuser is responsible for their own behavior. You cannot change them, and only a specialist and the abuser themselves can help the abuser.
Seek help! 

The Social Insurance Board's victim support crisis helpline 116 006 is ready 24/7 to listen to you and provide you with all-round help. You can also communicate with us via online chat at In an emergency, call the emergency number 112.

Find the nearest victim support worker or women's support center here.

If a person needs professional psychological counseling or psychotherapy to recover from the effects of a crime or violence they have experienced, they have the option of receiving mental health care to support recovery from trauma.


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