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32 Better services for victims of domestic violence. Close cooperation between the public sector, NGOs and experts by experience
  1. Helena Ewalds
  1. Development Manager, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Olli Humalamäki, Social Worker, The City of Mikkeli, Sirkku Mehtola, Executive Director, Viola Free From Violence


Background In Finland we have for many years worked to improve the public services (health care and social services) for victims of domestic violence. The specialised services for victims of domestic violence are usually run by NGOs. One of the obstacles has been that the staff in social- and health care don’t identify the victims of domestic violence. There is still lack of education but the main reason is that they don’t ask about violence. Domestic violence enquiry and assessment form has been develop and used in different settings but there is still need to spread the use of the form. The aim of the project (VÄISTÖ) we are presenting includes not only the use of routine enquiry but also how to intervene in domestic violence and establish the practice and develop public services.

Methods The VÄISTÖ-project is part of the National Development Plan for Social Welfare and Health Care (Kaste Program). The purpose is that national, regional and local actors work together to create and implement good practices. This project is implemented in the municipalities of North Karelia and South Savo areas together with two NGOs Viola Free From Violence (SAUMURI-project) and Victim Support (ORAVA-Project). The roles of NGOs have been important when it comes to engaging the Experts by Experience in the development work.

The service developments that have been done are following:

  1. Define the roles of domestic violence work in social- and health care public services. How is doing what and when.

  2. Dictate the responsibilities and put it in the structures. For example it is your obligation to intervene in domestic violence.

  3. Dictate the coordination between different agencies.

  4. The service developments have only been achieved by close teamwork between professionals, experts and Experts by Experience.

Results and Conclusions The key learning from this project has been that use of routine enquiry helps professionals in social- and health care settings better intervene in domestic violence. The professionals need an ongoing education in using the enquiry and assessment form. Despite education the professionals also need some expert to consult in situations when domestic violence is disclosed. In public services we also need professionals who are experts in domestic violence issues. One of the key findings in this service model is that the clients are getting more coordinated and comprehensive help. The clients are not as often as earlier redirected from one place to another.

  • Service development
  • domestic violence
  • experts by experience

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