Finland: Combating violence against women on agenda as EU gender equality ministers convene for videoconference

NordenBladet — The EU ministers responsible for gender equality will hold an informal videoconference on 20 November to discuss the combating of violence against women. The ministers will also present best practices on how to protect women from violence and support victims. Finland will be represented at the conference by Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality Thomas Blomqvist.

Studies show that intimate partner violence and especially violence against women have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, the availability and continuity of different support services are more important than ever. An example of best practices in Finland is Nollalinja, a nationwide helpline for those who have experienced intimate partner violence and violence against women or a threat of violence. This free-of-charge helpline is open around the clock, and it can be called anonymously.“Intimate partner violence has increased alarmingly during the COVID-19 crisis. Finland pays particular attention to supporting victims of intimate partner violence and other people in the most vulnerable position. We have made sure that support services are accessible even during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, many third-sector service providers have started to offer more telephone and online services for those who have experienced violence,” says Minister Blomqvist.

Besides each country’s own measures, Finland stresses the fact that the EU works to strengthen cooperation in combating violence against women. The EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe would be an important step forward. The EU Gender Equality Strategy includes a set of measures to combat gender-based violence. The meeting organised by Germany that is intended only for gender equality ministers is exceptional. Similar meetings have not been arranged during every presidency.


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