Shelters providing safety (Turvallisuutta turvakodista) -study


2023 - 2025

Unit at THL:

Other Special Services

On other websites:

The study Shelters providing safety examines the implementation of a group model developed by Trauma Centre Finland (Turvallisuuden tunne harhateillä – kohti turvallisia ihmissuhteita [Finding a sense of safety – towards safe relationships]), the need to develop the model and the preliminary impacts of the model in shelters for victims of domestic violence.


Trauma Centre Finland has developed a group-based method for adults experiencing intimate partner violence who have experienced abuse in their childhood attachments. The aim of the study is to examine the implementation of the group method in shelters for victims of domestic violence (underlying assumptions, training, and piloting of the activities), collect feedback for looking at the need to develop the group and identify preliminary impacts of the group method on the participants. In addition, adults who have experienced intimate partner violence and live in a shelter but do not participate in this group activity, will be recruited as a reference group for the study.


As of 2015, THL has been responsible for organising shelter services. Provisions on shelter services are laid down in the Act on Shelters for Victims of Domestic Violence, which defines that the assessment of shelter activities is a duty of THL. In 2015, there were a total of 19 shelters, and the number of shelters increased to 29 by 2023.

Shelters for victims of domestic violence are crisis intervention units free of charge to the clients. A person or family subjected to domestic violence or a threat thereof may go to a shelter on their own initiative or based on a assistance by an authority or some other party, also anonymously if necessary. When a person is violent against their current or previous partner, child or their partner's child, parent or other close relation, this is referred to as domestic violence.

Many factors affect the provision of help at the shelter and the assistance that clients receive after leaving the shelter. Some of the shelter clients seek help from a shelter more than once. As many shelter clients have also experienced violence and abuse in their childhood, it is necessary to study their need for information related to experiences of childhood abuse and the impact of this information on them. For example, persons who have experienced abuse in their childhood attachments may benefit from information about how experiences of abuse in childhood may affect their relationships in adulthood and about ways of regulating their stress and trauma reactions.

Research questions

The research questions in the study Shelters providing safety are the following:

  1. How suitable is the group method “Turvallisuuden tunne harhateillä – kohti turvallisia ihmissuhteita” to be implemented in shelters for victims of domestic violence?
  2. Do any development needs arise regarding training in the group method, organising the group or the implementation?
  3. What are the preliminary impacts of the group method on the participants of the group?

In addition, the study uses a reference group to gain information on the needs shelter clients have regarding the work carried out by shelters and the preliminary results of this work.


In the study Shelters providing safety, the participants of the group activities fill in a questionnaire when the group is set up and at the end of the group activities.

After each group meeting, the participants are asked to provide brief session-specific feedback. In addition to this, some of the shelter clients who have participated in the group activities and the instructors, developers and work coaches of the group activities are interviewed at the end of the group activities. The shelter clients who participate as a reference group fill in the questionnaires at the beginning and end of their shelter period.

The interviews conducted in the study are carried out using the thematic interview method. The main themes of the interviews concern the needs and experiences related to organising and implementing the group activities.



Contact information

Johanna Hietamäki
Senior Researcher
tel. +358 29 524 7990
email: [email protected]

Salla Kaikkonen
Senior Researcher
tel. +358 29 524 7167
email: [email protected]