Domestic violence in the family

A child's parents and other guardians have the primary responsibility for ensuring the child's welfare and protecting the child from physical and emotional violence.

When professionals in different operating environments reinforce factors that protect against violence, such as parenthood, taking care of the child's basic needs, good interaction and an experience of resilience, they can reduce the risk of violence against the child and thus protect the child. There is research evidence in particular on bringing physical violence to an end and preventing it.

It is important that professionals also recognise risk factors, such as:

  • A difficult financial situation
  • A child's disability or illness
  • Substance abuse or mental health problems.

Overloading experienced by parents for various reasons affects their possibilities and ability to take care of their children.

Research has shown that children and young people in a particularly vulnerable position may also be subjected to violence, bullying, discrimination or harassment more often than other children. These include children and young people with disabilities or with limited functional capacity.
Vulnerable groups

It is important to provide easy and fast access to multiprofessional and expert help directly at home. Sometimes everyday practical help is more important than speaking with someone. Services must also be equally available in different parts of the country.

Violence has impacts long into adulthood

Studies have found that Adverse Childhood Experiences, ACES will have impacts long into adulthood.

Victims of violence are more likely to develop public health diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer. Violence also increases the risk of various mental health disorders, risky behaviour and exclusion.

Traumas experienced in early childhood may later be reflected as shortcomings in self-confidence, experiences of inferiority and difficulties in forming permanent trust-based relationships.

It is estimated that preventive investments in the health and welfare of children and young people may lead to economic savings being tripled, as violence has immediate impacts and, impacts later in adulthood, and also intergenerational impacts.

Examples of measures put together in the theme (24 measures)

  • Professionals will systematically engage clients in conversations on the preconditions for a child's safe growth and growth environment in child and family services, such as the child health clinic, early childhood education and care, school, student welfare, social welfare, child welfare, child guidance and family counselling clinic, specialised medical care and family counselling provided by organisations and the Church. Professionals work together with the family to investigate the risk factors for violence.
  • Professionals provide families with psychosocial support and care at the baseline level without delay. Such support measures include additional visits to the child health clinic and additional home visits by clinic personnel, parenthood groups, peer support activities, home services for families with children by social work, family work and other suitable services, parenting and family counselling services
  • Positive parenting practices will be promoted using evidence-based methods of parenthood support, also taking into account the needs of people from different ethnic groups and language minorities. These methods include Incredible years and Voimaperheet – Digitalized Parent Training Intervention. 
  • The indicators according to which the harmful experiences of children's parents during their own childhood could best be screened and identified will be examined. Indicators include ACEs-IQ and SEEK. A similar study will be conducted on indicators such as SDQ and BITSEA that assess the socio-emotional skills of young children.

Additional information

Hakulinen T, Riihonen R, Laajasalo T, Järvilehto V, Keiski P, Koulu S, Nikupeteri A, Korpilahti U, Muukkonen T, Paavilainen E. & Säävälä M. 2019. Domestic violence in the family from the perspective of children and young people. Chapter 8. In: Korpilahti et al. 2019, 187–234.

Kalland M, Tenhunen T, Andell M, Ylenius-Lehtonen M, Lajunen K, Karjalainen P, Cacciatore R. & Porras K. 2019. Safety skills education. Chapter 7. In: Korpilahti et al. 2019, 139–186.

Korpilahti U, Hakulinen T, Tupola S, Kettunen H, Lillsunde P. & Aronen E. 2019. Violence against children – protective factors, risk factors and consequences. Chapter 2. In: Korpilahti et al. 2019, 28–51.