Last year saw an increase in number of clients in shelters for victims of domestic violence, while the number of calls to Nollalinja remained unchanged

Publication date 9.2.2024 10.08 | Published in English on 13.2.2024 at 16.41
News item

The number of clients and housing days at shelters increased last year, as can be seen from THL's preliminary statistics. A total of 5,266 clients stayed at shelters, which is about one hundred more than in 2022.

The number of days clients stayed at a shelter increased significantly: last year, clients stayed at shelters for more than 100,000 days, which is almost 12,000 days more than in 2022. Numerous factors influenced the increase in the number of shelter stay days.

"It is a good idea for the client to stay in the shelter for as long as it takes for them to organise their affairs together with professionals and to receive psychosocial support from the shelter for the crisis caused by violence," says Suvi Nipuli, THL’s Development Manager.

"However, the extended length of stays at shelters is not solely a good thing. Those who have experienced domestic violence or a threat thereof often also need other services in addition to those provided by a shelter. It is important that these are organised in a timely manner and that shelter stays are not extended due to the necessary services not being available. The wellbeing services counties have an obligation to ensure that services for preventing domestic violence are in order as a whole and that they can be seamlessly arranged during and after a stay at a shelter,' Nipuli continues.

In exceptional circumstances, the wellbeing services county may pay for a person to be housed in the premises of the shelter after their actual stay at the shelter. This is an exceptional arrangement that must under no circumstances prevent persons in need of shelter services from accessing the shelter in question.

The clients of shelters for victims of domestic violence are primarily very satisfied with the services they receive

Shelters steadily collect feedback from their clients, which THL also uses in the development of shelter services. The overall score that the clients gave to the services last year was 4.7/5.

The clients gave the highest ratings for the sense of security they felt during the service and the confidentiality of the service. Based on the received feedback, the findability of shelter services still requires work (4.4/5).

"We work consistently to ensure that awareness of the assistance provided by shelter services increases and that both professionals who refer clients to shelters and the public in general becomes familiar with these," says Nipuli.

Last year, around 1,300 clients responded to the adult feedback survey, which is just over 40 per cent of all adult clients. Taking the survey is voluntary.

More than 40% of shelter clients are children, and they are also asked for feedback on their stay at a shelter. 88% of the child respondents gave a smiley face to a sense of security Around 400 clients responded to the children’s survey last year.

More than 15,000 calls were made to Nollalinja last year 

The number of calls to Nollalinja, which provides assistance in cases related to domestic violence, remained at the same level as in 2022 last year. The number of calls answered decreased slightly from the previous year, and the answer rate decreased to 63%. Last year, the Nollalinja chat service was open for nine months, and a total of 705 chat sessions took place.

The decrease in the number of calls and their answer rate is due to a cut in the opening hours of Nollalinja's second telephone line and the chat service being interrupted for May–July due to lacking funding.

The numbers are also influenced by a call being registered as an unanswered call even if the caller does not wait for the line to become free and instead hangs up. However, many callers have likely called back later and received help at that time.

The highest number of calls to Nollalinja was made in May–June and December, the lowest in the early part of the year. The break in the chat service probably affected the increased number of calls. The largest number of chat sessions took place at the beginning of the year, while in the autumn it took time for people to find the service again after a few breaks. In 2024, the chat will be open all year.

"If the Nollalinja telephone lines are busy and you are contacting them on a weekday between 9 a.m. and 3 is best to use the chat to gain contact. The chat can usually be accessed without queuing. Most of Nollalinja's calls can also be answered immediately. When telephone lines are busy, the waiting time may sometimes be long, but on average it is less than one minute", says Anu Karhinen-Soppi, Senior Specialist from THL.

In addition to victims of domestic violence and violence against women, Nollalinja offers help to their families and friends. Professionals can also consult Nollalinja's professionals specialised in work to prevent domestic violence or call to ask about vacant shelters. Nollalinja provides help in Finnish, Swedish and English, and in eight other languages with the help of interpretation services.

Nollalinja's free telephone helpline and chat service:

Further information

Shelters for victims of domestic violence:

Suvi Nipuli
Development Manager
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
[email protected] 


Anu Karhinen-Soppi
Senior Specialist, Nollalinja
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
[email protected]

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