1) Good practices on communication with victims and crime reporting
COVID-19 information has been updated on national Shelter and Nollalinja Helpline websites. Nollalinja is a nationwide free-of-charge helpline 24/7 for anyone who has experienced violence or a threat of violence in a close relationship.
There has been social media information focusing on that in spite of the COVID-19, services are open for the victims. The Helsinki City initiated campaign of Family Peace (perherauhanjulistus.fi) has gathered into one website a wide range of agencies helping victims of domestic violence and in other crisis situations. The campaign has been actively presented in TV spots.
2) Good practices on organisation of support and protection
The Helpline and shelters are considered as critical services and they are open 24/7. They are prepared to be in function and to face different situations (clients in quarantine, clients in risk group, clients having virus) during COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of the shelters are capable of taking victims that might have COVID-19 or are in a risk group, in addition, there is a plan how to use the network of shelters, if a victim must find another shelter.
Nollalinja Helpline has ensured staff adequacy. Helpline and network of shelters have up to date knowledge (database) with information about free family places in shelters. All kinds of remote assistance methods have been very useful in communicating with clients. In Victim Support Finland (RIKU) the most commonly used are the 116 006 helpline, chat service (RIKUchat) and video conferencing. Also, some clients like to use email since they do not need to be at the service for a long time in a run and can thus communicate when it is suitable for them, e.g. when the perpetrator is not present. In RIKU all of the above mentioned remote assistance methods have been in use already before the pandemic.
3) Other good practices
Finnish institute for health and welfare (THL) is responsible for organising Shelter services and Nollalinja Helpline services for the victims of domestic violence. The services have ongoing national data gathering (quantitative and qualitative) in Shelters and Nollalinja Helpline.
There is a guideline for welfare and health in municipalities during COVID-19 pandemic. It consists of information about how municipalities can consider the needs of people who are suffering domestic violence.
THL has made national recommendations for all the shelters in Finland to ensure that in spite of the COVID-19, victims receive help they need.