Number of domestic violence-related criminal offenses remains on rise

Police car and officers.
Police car and officers. Source: Anna Aureilia Minev/ERR

Over the course of four years, a total of 125 domestic violence criminal offenses with serious consequences were registered in Estonia. The results of a recent analysis on the subject completed by the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) indicate that risk factors involved that lead to such consequences include problems with alcohol use, prior violent behavior as well as other social issues.

According to the results of the PPA's recent analysis of domestic violence cases involving serious consequences, a total of 125 such cases of domestic violence against men and women alike were registered. Of these, 41 people died as a result; another some 90 were seriously injured.

The goal of the analysis was to determine the risk factors that lead to such a tragic situation.

"The main thing is that we know these cases, either from the police's or another official's point of view, in which earlier signs are already there that that there is violence in that relationship and that it is growing increasingly more serious, as well as other issues, such as social problems, are often connected with alcohol, unemployment and prior risky behaviors," said Kati Arumäe, senior law enforcement officer at the PPA's Prevention and Offence Bureau.

Arumäe added that the the perpetrator was not previously known to the police in all serious cases.

"Many cases came to light in the course of investigating this serious case," she said. "This is our main message — that people seek help, regardless of from which specialists."

The police are cooperating with several ministries to continually develop new measures for reducing domestic violence. Among other measures are efforts to expand opportunities to grant prohibitions on stay as well as restraining orders; an alarm button system is also in the process of being worked out. These are also aimed at establishing physical distance between an abuser and their victim as early on as possible.

Abusers manipulate, track victims

Psychologist Ülle Kalvik, who has provided services for women being subject to domestic violence, said that the matter of repeat violence is very serious and needs to be addressed.

"Women often can't cope with it anymore, and often it is taking place via manipulation and via children," Kalvik said. "The man may start threatening the woman's coworkers, her parents, her loved ones; he may be watching somewhere. We've even had cases in which some kind of trackers have been installed on vehicles, or children are gifted phones with trackers and then are picked up at the pool, school or kindergarten despite not being authorized to do so."

The number of domestic violence-related criminal offenses remains on rise, but first and foremost this indicates that domestic violence is being increasingly reported.

Monday marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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