Last year, more than 3000 new cases of domestic violence reached victim support.
The survey ordered by the Government Office in April revealed that over the past 15 years 4% of the people living in Estonia had experienced mental abuse and 1% had experienced physical abuse. That is an estimated 44,000 people who do not feel safe in their own home. In addition, their loved ones and children have been affected by domestic violence.
Last year, police received 12,146 calls concerning domestic violence. A total of 3313 new cases of domestic violence reached victim support, and 2563 victims reached out to women’s support centres. A total of 144 new cases were directed to MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference, where the most high risk cases of domestic violence are discussed). Unfortunately, 16 people lost their lives due to domestic violence. The aim of victim support is to reach as many people in need as possible, to provide assistance and to prevent domestic violence and the accompanying serious consequences.
The helpline 116 006 offers initial counselling around the clock.
Starting in 2019, people will be able to call the helpline at 116 006 around the clock, where counselling is provided to those who are victims of violence or mistreatment. The crisis hotline is also open to people who are worried about a loved one who is the victim of violence.
The hotline is contacted most often in the case of topics relating to domestic violence – with 1011 domestic violence related contacts made last year. Counselling was provided 4657 times via the crisis hotline. A total of 733 consultations took place online. In addition to domestic violence, the hotline is contacted most often involving social problems, other violence, suicidal thoughts and grief.
Victim support officials cooperate with the police to support people who have experienced trauma.
Victim support officials can be found at police stations across Estonia, offering support and counselling to victims of crime, violence or mistreatment. The majority of victim support cases involve incidents of domestic violence. Last year, 3313 new victims of domestic violence reached victim support officials. The victim support official offers the victim initial psychological counselling and directs them to further aid. Cooperation between the police and victim support helps to prevent the recurrence of violence and the escalation of incidents into acts of serious violence.
At women’s support centres, victims find both shelter and counselling.
Women’s support centres were contacted a total of 2563 times in the first half of the year and in the second half of the year. During the year, 2153 women received assistance, which is within the same range as in previous years (1950 women were helped in 2018 and 2177 women in 2019). Victims are aware of the services offered by women’s support centres and people are increasingly unafraid to seek help from support centres. Support centres also enjoy good co-operation with the police, victim support and local governments, whose employees refer the victim to support centres for accommodation or counselling, if necessary. A total of 156 women and 77 children required safe accommodations in 2020. Women between the ages of 25-49 (1484 women) turn to support centres most often. There were 112 women over the age of 65 who sought help.
Sexual violence crisis centres offer professional help around the clock.
Sexual violence crisis centres provide 24/7 assistance to people who have experienced sexual violence. The centres are located in four hospitals – West Tallinn Central Hospital, Ida-Viru Central Hospital, Pärnu Hospital and the Tartu University Hospital. A referral is not necessary in order to visit the centre.
In 2020, a total of 128 people – 124 women and 4 men – turned to the sexual violence crisis centres. The youngest victim was 1 and the oldest was 79 years old. Half of those visiting a sexual violence crisis centre were referred by the police.
Prevention of domestic violence murders via networking.
Since 2017, the MARAC networking has been taking place in Estonia, to which cases are directed in which a high risk of committing a serious crime against health or life has been identified. Within MARACs systematic cooperation is taking place between victim assistance, the police, the prosecutor’s office, women’s support centres, child protection, local governments, etc. Together with the victim a plan is put in place, which helps to ensure the security of the victim and his or her children, a feeling of security and the return to normal life.
Last year, a total of 144 new cases were added to MARAC, in which the victim was a man on three occasions and a woman in the remainder. Including minor children who are receiving support and services under MARAC case management, a total of 364 family members (victim, minor children) are involved in new cases.
The goal of MARAC’s regional expert groups is to do their best to ensure that there are no families in Estonia in which a close relationship ends in violent death or lifelong personal injury.
To prevent violence, a helpline for ending violence was launched
On 22 May of last year the support line 660-6077, for ending domestic violence, was opened. The goal of initial telephone counselling is to provide support and information on how to get help for anyone who is concerned about their own violent behaviour or that of their loved ones. Over a period of nine months, counselling was provided 451 times via the support line. There were 195 initial contacts of the support line. Most of those (63 people) contacting the line had received information from the police. Followed by information received from victim support officials (43 people) and those who found information on their own (27 people). Others had received information from the prosecutor’s office, local governments and probation supervision.
Each month there were more people contacting the support line – during the summer months there were 32 initial contacts and since September there have been over 30 contacts each month. In December there were 47 initial contacts.
Possibilities to receive assistance
- In an emergency, immediately call 112
- If you have experienced domestic violence, are concerned about yourself or a loved one, you can contact the victim support helpline around the clock at 116 006 or write via web chat at the address www.palunabi.ee
- If you are concerned about your own violent behaviour, you can contact the support line at 660-6077.
- If you are concerned about the wellbeing of a child, you can call the child helpline at 116 111 or write from the homepage www.lasteabi.ee