has been outlawed in Finland since 1970.
It may be prosecuted under various criminal laws, including those prohibiting rape, assault and battery, harassment, and disturbing the peace.
The maximum penalty for physical domestic violence or aggravated assault is ten years’ imprisonment.
Domestic violence is also combatted via The Act on the Restraining Order (1998), which prohibits perpetrators from approaching, contacting or stalking their victims.
A 2005 supplement to the Act allows for the order to be imposed on someone living within the same household as the person requesting the order, requiring the person subject to the order to leave the house.
Previously, a restraining order could not be imposed if the concerned parties were living together.
The police and the Ministry of Justice provide brochures in several languages on restraining orders and the rights of victims of domestic violence.
Shelters and crisis telephone counselling are available to victims of partner and domestic violence in Finland.
However, as reported by the Government in 2009, Finland does not meet the EU Standard of one available spot in a shelter home per 10,000 inhabitants.
The objective of the Internal Security Programme is to make shelter services available throughout the country by 2015.
According to a 2009-10 survey by the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, published in a Government report, 12.4% of women have experienced violence or threats in a current partnership, and 26.6% have experienced it in a former partnership since the age of 15. The rates of violence or threats in a current and a former partnership in the 12 months prior to the survey were 3.2% and 18% respectively. Physical violence was the most common form of violence or threats in all cases.
Government statistics indicate that 27 women were killed by domestic violence in 2011, compared to 28 in 2010. According the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA )’s survey published in March 2014, 47% of Finnish women over the age of 15 has experienced gender based violence by a partner or non-partner at least once in their lifetime.
Statistics from 2003-10 show that in 67% of female homicide cases the killer was a spouse or boyfriend.
Immigrant women seek help from shelters nine times more often than women of Finnish nationality.
is criminalized under Chapter 20 (“Sexual Offenses”) of Finland’s Criminal Code.
Spousal rape has been a criminal offence in Finland since 1994.
A 2011 amendment to the Criminal Code expanded rape to include sexual relations that involve taking advantage of the defenselessness of a victim.
The maximum prison sentence for rape is six years, although it may be as many as ten years in the case of aggravated rape, for example if the offence is committed in a particularly brutal, cruel or humiliating manner. The minimum sentence for aggravated rape is two years.
If a “slight degree of violence or threat” was used in coercing someone into sexual intercourse, the act is considered “coercion into sexual intercourse” (or lesser degree rape
) and carries a maximum prison sentence of three years.
Sexual relations with a child under the age of 16 years that do not involve aggravated circumstances are criminalized as “sexual abuse of a child” and carry a prison sentence of between four months and four years.
According to media reports, as of October 2013, the Ministry of Justice is in the process of preparing a draft law to be presented to parliament with the intention of toughening penalties for rape, for example by requiring convicts to face unconditional imprisonment for at least one year.
Amnesty International has criticized the draft law for maintaining the current conception of rape in the Criminal Code based on the extent of violence used rather than on the victim’s lack of consent.
The Government maintains a rape crisis centre with toll-free emergency helplines.
However, the number of rape crisis centres is lower than the Council of Europe recommendation of one per 200,000 inhabitants.
According to Amnesty International, while rape victims may be provided with a trial counsel at the expense of the state, healthcare personnel fail to make them sufficiently aware that this type of support is available.
According to the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency and national estimates, about 10% of women report physical violence, including rape, to the police in Finland.
In 2011, 1,039 cases of rape were reported, and 177 persons were convicted, amounting to a conviction rate of about 17%.
The 2006 Crime Trends Yearbook notes that prosecutors cited “no evidence” in 88% of rape cases.
In the Finnish Government’s 2012 Gender Equality Barometer, 91% of women and 90% of men surveyed were of the opinion that the verdicts in rape cases were too lenient, up from 89% of both women and men expressing the view in 2008.
According to Amnesty International, reporting in 2010, support services for victims remain inadequate. Moreover, lack of knowledge among healthcare personnel about the importance of, and standards for, the medical examination of rape victims has negative consequences for the collection of evidence.
In addition, the fact that rape can only be prosecuted if the victim chooses to press charges, leaves open the possibility for perpetrators to pressure victims into dropping the case.
in employment, labour market institutions, and educational institutions is prohibited under a 2005 amendment to the Act on Equality between Women and Men (1987).
Educational institutions are required to have equality plans that include sexual harassment prevention and remedies.
The Act requires employers to ensure their employees a workplace free of sexual harassment or improper advances. Employers and educational institutions have the responsibility to take disciplinary measures against the harasser when acts of sexual harassment are brought to their attention.
An employer who takes no action may be prosecuted for discrimination and face fines or up to six months’ imprisonment.
The law is currently under revision with a proposal presented to Finnish parliament to criminalise sexual harassment.
Various acts, ranging from gestures, insinuating acts, telephone calls, letters, displays of pornographic material, touching, or physical assault may constitute sexual harassment in Finland.
Aside from bringing harassment to the attention of officials, a victim may pursue legal prosecution. The penalty for sexual harassment includes payment of damages.
Sexual harassment in employment may also be prosecuted under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (2002), which contains a provision that requires an employer to remedy a situation of harassment of employees that causes hazards or risks to the employee’s health.
The Equality Ombudsman, occupational safety authorities, and social partners advise victims on how to proceed in the case of sexual harassment.
According to a European Commission report, sexual harassment in Finland is only prosecuted if the victim clearly expresses that the conduct of the harasser is unwanted. The report notes that victims have been deterred from expressing their discomfort or issuing a complaint given a Finnish culture in which everyone is expected to be “a good guy” who is not easily offended.
According to Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, in 2008, every other young woman (aged between 15 and 34 years) reported having experienced sexual harassment by a man during the previous two years.
Based on survey data from 1998 to 2008, about one in three women compared to 13% of men have experienced sexual harassment.
Amongst female fulltime employees, dirty jokes from colleagues topped the list of the type of sexual harassment faced in the workplace.
In past years, workplace sexual harassment only applied to situations involving an employment contract, therefore excluding elected officials, such as MPs.
In 2008, there were media reports concentrating on the alleged harassment of parliamentary employees, especially young female assistants to some male MPs.
A 2008 study of 320 parliamentary employees, commissioned by the Finnish Parliament, found that one in three female respondents reported having experienced sexual harassment.
No information was found on whether sexual harassment law has since been extended to parliamentary activities.
Female genital mutilation
(FGM) has been a concern in Finland since the 1990s with the growth of a Somali immigrant population. A 2013 report by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) found no available statistics on the prevalence of FGM in Finland. There is no specific law combatting FGM, according to the EIGE report, there have been no legal cases involving FGM in Finland.
The Ministry of Labour subsidised a project in 2004 whose objective was to prevent the female genital mutilation (FGM) of girls and women in Finland and to promote the well-being of those who had already been subjected to FGM.
Preparations for the establishment of a Plan of Action on FGM of girls began in 2009.
According to the 2008 NGO shadow report to the CEDAW by The Coalition of Finnish Women’s Associations, the issue of honour-related violence
is one of the most urgent problems among immigrant women, yet Finnish authorities do not always know how to investigate the cultural factors behind these acts of violence. Neither the Finnish Criminal nor Civil Code specifically mention honour related violence or forced marriages. 
The Finnish Government has acknowledged that it is both a country of destination and a transit country for human trafficking
. According to a 2010 report by the Ombudsman for Minorities, there are approximately hundreds of trafficking victims in Finland. In 2006, Finland criminalised the purchasing of sexual services from victims of trafficking.
is available up to 12 weeks into the pregnancy to save a woman’s life or preserve her mental health, for economic or social reasons, or in the case of rape or incest; up to 20 weeks to preserve her physical health or if she is younger than 17 years of age; and up to 24 weeks if the woman’s life is at risk or if there is a risk of foetal malformation. An abortion must be authorised by one or two doctors, depending on the circumstances, up to 12 weeks or by the State Medical Board up to 20 weeks.
Abortion is free of charge under national health insurance, but women may have to pay additional hospital fees.
 Amnesty International (2010) p. 91  U.S. Department of State (2013) p. 10  U.S. Department of State (2013) p. 10; Criminal Code, Sec. 6 (654/2001)  CEDAW (2000) p. 10; The Act on the Restraining Order (898/1998)  Amendment (711/2004) to the Act on the Restraining Order (1998)  CEDAW (2007) p. 17  CEDAW (2007) p. 22  CEDAW (2012) p. 19  Government of Finland (2009) p. 12  CEDAW (2012) p. 20  Statistics Finland (2012) p. 90  European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (2014).  U.S. Department of State (2013) p. 10  CEDAW (2012) p. 19  Criminal Code (39/1889, amendments up to 927/2012 included)  Amnesty International (2010) p. 91  Amendment to Chapter 20 of the Criminal Code (495/2011) riminal Code, chap. 20, sec. 2(4)  Amnesty International (2010) p. 92  Criminal Code, chap. 20, sec. 3  Criminal Code, chap. 20, sec. 6  Sjöholm (2013); Yle Uutiset (2013)  Sjöholm (2013)  Amnesty International (2010) p. 112  CEDAW (2012) p. 19  Amnesty International (2010) p. 112  Amnesty International (2010) p. 100  U.S. Department of State (2013) p. 10  Amnesty International (2010) p. 88  Kiianmaa (2012) p. 70  Amnesty International (2010) p. 147  Amnesty International (2010) p. 143  Act on Equality between Women and Men (609/1986)  Act on Equality between Women and Men (609/1986) sec. 6b; Nousiainen (2011) p. 98  Nousiainen (2011) p. 97-98  U.S. Department of State (2013) p. 11  Ministry of Justice (2014).  EuroFound (2009)  Eurofound (2009); Act on Equality between Women and Men, sec. 11  The Occupational Safety and Health Act (738/2002) sec. 28  Nousiainen (2011) p. 98  Nousiainen (2011) p. 94  Nieminen (2009) p. 49  Nieminen (2009) p. 53  Nieminen (2009) p. 57  Jokivuori (2008)  Nousiainen (2011) p. 94-95  Jokivuori (2008)  European Institute for Gender Equality (2013) p. 85  CEDAW (2007) p. 22  CEDAW (2012) p. 17  Coalition of Finnish Women’s Associations (2008) p. 8-9  CEDAW (2012) p. 22-23  Law No. 239 of 24 March 1970 on the interruption of pregnancy, as amended by Law No. 564 of 19 July 1978 and Law No. 572 of 12 July 1985 (available in English: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/population/abortion/Finland.abo.htm)