Legislation, agreements, inclusion and knowledge base

The prevention of violence against children needs to be supported by legislation and agreements.

Inclusion also prevents violence. However, knowledge of the links between the experience of inclusion and the prevention of violence is still fragmented.

Legislation must support the prevention of violence against children

Violence against children can only end if legislation supports this and the relevant regulations are also implemented.

The child's right to bodily autonomy and protection from all forms of abuse and violence has been recognised in Finland as both a national fundamental right and an international human right:

  • The right to personal security and integrity is guaranteed for everyone in the Constitution of Finland (731/1999).
  • Finland is also committed to several international human rights instruments, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (60/1991).

Public authorities must ensure the implementation of fundamental rights and human rights.

Inclusion promotes safety and prevents violence

The safety of children and young people increases when they have the tools to define their own identity and a living environment in which they have the courage to express their feelings and concerns.

More widely, inclusion increases security so that children and young people, professionals and decision-makers have a better opportunity to put into words threatening and unfair experiences in private and public debate.

In matters related to inclusion, children and young people who are in a particularly vulnerable position must also be taken into account. They include children and young people with disabilities and reduced functional capacity.

More information must be collected on violence against children

It seems that violence has decreased at least to some extent in the 2000s and authorities are increasingly aware of existing cases. However, much of the crime against children and young people still remains hidden from the authorities.

In its statements to Finland, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed concern about there being few statistics on child abuse and neglect, violence against children or services for children in Finland.

The Committee has recommended that Finland strengthen its system for the national collection, analysis and dissemination of data and launch research on violence against children using various sources of information.

It is also important to collect information on:

  • How well the service system recognises violence against children and young people
  • How well services can help children and young people who have been subjected to violence.

Examples of measures put together in the theme (13 measures)

  • Increasing knowledge on the links between experiences of inclusion, safety and prevention of violence. Data is collected on the basis of qualitative and quantitative material and material produced together with children and young people. The information will be used as the basis for future measures. 
  • Impacts on children and young people, including the safety, accidents and violence experienced by children and young people in the growth environment, are systematically assessed in decision-making by the state and municipalities.
  • The knowledge-base on violence against children and young people will be strengthened and harmonised also taking into account children in a particularly vulnerable position and those in special groups. Information will also be collected on the violence experienced by them in a reliable manner and in accordance with the rights of the child. Information from different sources is regularly compiled.

Additional information

Iivonen E. 2019. Rights of the child. Chapter 4. In: Korpilahti et al. 2019, 88–111

Isola A-M, Tulensalo H. & Laitinen K. 2019. Inclusion promotes safety and security and prevents violence. Chapter 5. In: Korpilahti et al. 2019, 112–121.