Emergency situation limiting chances to seek help for domestic violence

Victim Support.
Victim Support. Source: ERR

While the number of calls received by the Ohvriabi crisis hotline 116 006 has increased significantly during the ongoing emergency situation in Estonia, the number of domestic violence-related calls has decreased, as victims of domestic violence have fewer opportunities to seek help in current conditions, online news portal Delfi writes.

"While victims previously had the opportunity to communicate at work or seek help while their abuser was at work, this avenue is currently cut off to them," Delfi (link in Estonian) quoted Mari Tikerpuu, head of the Social Insurance Board's Victim Support Unit, as saying.

Many victims of domestic violence have described situations in which they were not asked about ongoing domestic violence for years by coworkers, neighbors or loved ones, Tikkerpuu said, citing signs including physical marks of violence, changes in social behavior, loud voices from neighboring apartments and absences from work among clues that should tip bystanders off to potential domestic violence.

The Social Insurance Board launched a new nationwide campaign this week encouraging bystanders to help victims of domestic violence by seeking help and reporting potential abuse.

"While loved ones and neighbors frequently worry that they don't have sufficient knowledge or skills to intervene and help, this is where our victim support specialists can help find a suitable means of approach for each situation," Tikerpuu said, encouraging people to call the crisis hotline at 116 006.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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