Safety

According to the 2018 safety survey, Helsinki residents feel that their neighbourhood, the city centre and means of transport are safer than ever. The change has been positive for both women and men, although the experience of insecurity is still much more common for women. Many other indicators also point to positive safety developments in Helsinki: for example, people see less violence in their own residential area that they did at the beginning of the millennium, and safety concerns about the residential areas have diminished.
SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
SDG 5: Gender equality

People are more concerned about the surroundings in areas they perceive as unsafe. People’s safety concerns about their residential area have decreased between the last surveys (2015–2018). The issues that Helsinki residents are the most concerned about are social exclusion, property damage and graffiti and the reduction of green areas. A total of 15 concerns about the living environment were covered by the survey.

There are differences in the concerns of residents between various parts of Helsinki. In areas where experiences of insecurity are more prevalent, there are particular concerns about people’s misbehaviour, street violence, crime, drug use and dealing as well as conflicts between different language and cultural groups.

Concerns about traffic behaviour and the reduction of green areas are common in all types of areas and are not equally linked to the perceived safety of the residential area.

Oman asuinalueensa perjantai- ja viikonloppuiltaisin turvattomaksi kokevien vastaajien (%) muutos peruspiireittäin 2015-2018. Oulunkylässä, Myllypurossa ja Vuosaaressa kokemus oli turvattomampi kuin ennen.
Change in respondents who report feeling unsafe in their own neighbourhoods during Friday and weekend nights by residential areas (%) 2015-2018: Dark blue: safer than before, light blue: no change, green: less safe than before, grey: no data.

Work against intimate partner violence requires further efforts

Intimate partner violence, especially violence against women, is a problem in Finland. Finland is the second most violent country in the European Union for women, which has also been highlighted in the national work on sustainable development. The exceptional situation caused by COVID-19 seems to continue to increase violence in homes.

The working group for the prevention of domestic and intimate partner violence has been operating in Helsinki for about 10 years and involves numerous organisations. The current working group has been set to operate until 2025. Its task is to promote the local implementation of national recommendations and suggestions for measures in Helsinki, to promote cooperation with other cities in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and to monitor the development of the number of violent crimes in intimate relationships.

The working group makes suggestions for measures, information and training to prevent intimate partner violence. The working group is also responsible for producing guidelines for residents and information campaigns.

Campaigning and education

The working group for the prevention of domestic and intimate partner violence operates as part of a network for the promotion of well-being and health, which contributes to the well-being, health and safety of the city residents. The work against intimate partner violence has also been integrated into Helsinki’s safety planning principles for 2019–2020 and, thereby, into the work of Helsinki’s safety planning specialist group.

The City of Helsinki and its partners campaigned against intimate partner violence in autumn 2019 and in spring 2020 through the Declaration of Family Peace. In 2019 and 2020, approximately 1,300 people participated in the training.

In 2019, the theme of the training was honour violence. The training themes for 2020 were crisis and trauma work, digital violence in a relationship, sexual harassment of children, grooming and sexual violence against children in digital media, sexual violence as trauma, and meeting traumatised children and young people using cognitive methods. Although active efforts have been made against intimate partner violence, further efforts are still needed.

Successes

  • Perceived safety has improved among both men and women.

Development targets

  • Intimate partner violence remains a problem, especially violence against women, and the COVID-19 crisis seems to increase violence in homes.
  • There are differences in perceived safety, both between genders and between residential areas. Intimate partner violence against women must be reduced.

Links to related programmes, reports and websites