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Sexual Violence Against Finnish Girls on the Rise, Study Finds

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A young woman  - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.11.2022
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The recent development, which includes a 73-percent year-on-year increase in child sex abuse cases reported to the police, has been called “troubling” by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and “food for thought” by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
Finnish girls are facing increasing amounts of sexual violence, a recent study from the University of Tampere has found, citing an increase in crimes perpetrated by strangers.
Around eight percent of girls in the ninth grade reported having experiencing sexual violence in the most recent study. In 2013, nearly a decade ago, the ratio was 5 percent. A similar development can also be seen among girls in grade six, although the rise is smaller.
According to police statistics, 760 cases of child sex abuse were reported to law enforcement between January and March of this year, which marked a 73-percent increase over the same period in 2021.
The overall picture of sexual violence against young people appears to have become more serious, Taina Laajasalo, Forensic Psychologist and Chief Specialist at the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) said in a statement.

“In addition to increased quantities, the involvement of unknown parties has also risen, while coercion and violence have increased at the same time. Overall, these changes are troubling,” Laajasalo said.

In a 2013 query, 23 percent of reports from girls in grade nine involved strangers. By 2022, it had risen to 50 percent.
The study defined sexual violence against children as experiences in which the perpetrator was an adult or at least five years older than the victim. Sex-related requests, suggestions or innuendos that children may have faced were not examined.
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“The results of the recent child victim survey give us food for thought. All children have the right to live in safety, and the adults are obliged to create such an environment for the children where this is possible,” Taneli Puumalainen, head of department at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, said in a statement.
The child victimization survey was based on a nationally representative sample and queried 6,825 sixth and ninth grade students about their experiences. Previous measurements from 1988, 2008 and 2013 were used for comparison to work out a national strategy against sexual violence. A more comprehensive follow-up report, which will also include findings about other types of violence, is due in January 2023.
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