Sexual violence is reported less frequently in Pärnu than in Estonia's other big cities, ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" reports.
Speaking to "Aktuaalne kaamera," Pärnu Hospital Women's and Children's Clinic director Kadri-Liina Vahula and nurse Kristi Kõrboja-Hallik said that there have indeed been few cases of victims of sexual violence seeking help from the clinic — in the first half of this year, they saw just two cases of sexual violence or suspected sexual violence.
"Our [sexual violence crisis] center was created so that we could provide full support to these people and victims: provide psychological counseling, if needed, collect evidence, if needed, as well as encourage them to contact the police," Vahula said.
Women are often the first to be considered victims of sexual violence, but men can be victims of it as well.
"Absolutely," Vahula said. "Our center is ready to help women, men as well as children. Victims can be of any gender, any age and at any time. And we would also like to encourage people to say something even if they are not entirely sure of what has happened to them — whether something has happened while drunk, whether they have been drugged or whatever the problem may be. But if there is even some passing doubt that something has happened, then to contact us within seven days."
Victims should first head to the emergency room, from which they will be further directed.
"We will first talk to them, and ask what happened," Kõrbija-Hallik said. "We will collect evidence and take DNA samples. Then we will provide treatment, if needed, for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We will offer counseling and psychological help."
Both Vaher and Kõrboja-Hallik stressed that it is imoprtant that a victim does not feel as though they are alone.
The sexual violence crisis center at Pärnu Hospital has been in operation for two years.
A total of ten cases of sexual violence were reported in Pärnu last year.
Editor: Aili Vahtla