Victims of domestic violence
If you are a woman or a man who has lived in an abusive relationship in which you have been beaten, threatened, humiliated, violated or ill-treated, you can get support from the Centre Against Violence.
It matters not whether you are living in a heterosexual or homosexual relationship, if you have an addiction or any physical or mental disability. The Centre Against Violence offers support and help to those subjected to violence, and their children, in the form of:
- individual therapy;
- group therapy; and
- support during legal proceedings and in contacts with other public authorities.
Do you recognise yourself in any of these issues?
- Do you feel controlled and unable to meet with friends and family?
- Do you have to tell your partner everything you do?
- Does it feel like your partner decides what you can and may do?
- Does it feel like you are constantly adapting to your partner?
- Have you been pushed, kicked or struck?
- Has your partner insulted, ridiculed or denigrated you?
- Have you been forced to have sex against your will?
- Has your partner neglected your wellbeing, such as by withholding medicine or preventing you from having a sufficiently nutritious diet?
- Have you ever felt afraid of and threatened by your partner?
You can talk to us about your experiences of violence and the consequences violence has had on your life.
What is violence?
Any act that frightens, injures, causes pain to or degrades another person in order to influence or control them is violence.
Violence occurs in all social groups and at all ages. One cannot say that it only applies to a specific type of person or relationship. In Sweden, domestic violence is a crime.
People use violence in intimate relationships in order to assert power and control over their partner. It is common for the perpetrator of violence to have attempted to exert other forms of control over their partner before they resort to hitting them. Once violence does start it will almost always escalate if the relationship continues.
Definition of domestic violence
Domestic violence is characterised by the victim having a close relationship, and often strong emotional bonds, with the perpetrator. This complicates matters and makes it harder to resist and leave the relationship. This kind of violence generally occurs in the victim’s home. The longer the relationship continues, the more likely the violence is to increase in intensity and severity.
The term domestic violence encompasses all types of violence between people in close relationships: in heterosexual and homosexual relationships, relationships between siblings and within other familial relationships.
Psychological violence can take many forms but it always has a tremendous impact on the wellbeing of the victim. If you are regularly criticised, questioned, degraded and treated as if you are stupid by your partner, you may well become insecure about yourself and what you think and say. You may even begin to think that what they say is true and that you are to blame for any conflicts or arguments that arise in your relationship. You may do what your partner tells you simply to avoid an argument, threats and/or violence.
If your partner threatens to take their own life if you leave the relationship, that too is psychological violence. They may also threaten to harm you or someone close to you, or harm your pet in some way.
Another form of psychological violence is to prevent you from comforting your children or seeking treatment for yourself or the children.
Psychological violence may involve your partner doing one or more of the following:
- Saying and doing things to degrade you.
- Accusing you of something you did not do.
- Making you believe that you are the one who usually thinks or does the wrong things in the relationship.
- Behaving unpredictable. What was right yesterday is wrong today; in fact, you can do no right.
- Checking and offering unsolicited opinions about your social media posts and text messages.
- Controlling you to the extent that it becomes difficult for you to maintain contact with friends and family.
- Threatening to harm you or someone you love, whether a person or animal.
- Scaring you with threatening gestures or comments.
- Making everyday life difficult for you, for example, by hiding things you need.
- Breaking furniture or other objects you like.
- Having fun at your expense, ridiculing and mocking you.
- Controlling household finances.
Physical violence can range from pulling hair, slapping, pushing, punching, kicking, strangulation or attempted suffocation to assault with a weapon. The perpetrator of physical violence often deliberately targets areas of the body where bruises and other injuries will not attract the attention of outsiders. The violence may even cause injuries that cannot be hidden, such as fractures, eye damage or scratches. bruises and cuts on exposed areas of the body. Physical violence may be a recurring event or remain an ever-present threat.
They are many ways to inflict physical violence. For example, your partner may do one or more of the following:
- Pinch, shake or restrain you.
- Pull your hair.
- Drag or pull you.
- Throw things at you.
- Place a stranglehold on you.
- Punch or kick you.
- Bang your head against something.
- Prevent you from sleeping.
Sexual violence refers to any sexual act committed against your will, ranging from pestering you into having sex all the way to rape. You may be forced to perform degrading sexual acts against your will. Physical violence against your breasts and genitals may also be sexual violence.
Sexual violence can be both physical and psychological; for example, your partner may do one or more of the following:
- Have sex with you against your will.
- Make unsolicited sexual remarks to you.
- Touch you sexually against your will.
- Pester you into having sex or force you to perform various types of sexual act.
- Force you to watch pornography against your will.
- Force you to have sex with multiple partners.
- Put you in a situation where you feel unable to say no to sex. The victim may feel that the price of refusing sex will be too high.
Sweden has a consent law stating that sex must be voluntary; otherwise, it is a criminal offence. This means that, unless you actively consent to having sex, the offence is the same as if you had said no and your wishes were not respected.
Material violence may involve destroying the family’s joint possessions, the partner’s personal property or the children’s toys. The perpetrator of violence may well select things of particular sentimental value to the partner or child in order to threaten, degrade and hurt them. They may also target things that their partner needs in their everyday life.
Economic violence means that the perpetrator controls the family’s finances and the partner’s money in such a way that the partner must ask for money for every purchase. It may also refer to the opposite relationship, where the partner is forced to pay for all household expenses while the perpetrator uses their money for their own pleasure and investments.
Violence against people with disabilities
People who are dependent on others for everyday nursing and care may also be subjected to neglect, such as the withholding of medication or being given a diet without sufficient nutrients.
This category of violence also includes one partner forcing the other to do things against their will or threatening them, keeping them confined at home or being in their home without permission.
Breaking the legacy of violence: parental precautions against violence
Are you worried about how things you were exposed to as a child will affect your own parenting? Perhaps you are already a parent of young children or are considering parenthood? Perhaps, given your experiences of violence, you have doubts about whether you can cope with parenthood.
Get help with your parenting through the course Breaking the Legacy of Violence.
Research shows that we repeat patterns of behaviour inherited from our own parents, with a negative impact on how we behave towards our children. If you have been subjected to violence as a child, it is important to take such concerns seriously.
We can arrange for you to attend a group of five to ten people in your situation. These groups are for those over 23 years of age, perhaps already with a child up to five years of age, expecting a baby or considering having children. You can attend alone or as a couple.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, we are unable to hold courses during spring 2021. However, as soon as the situation improves, we will be starting!
We will work together to disseminate knowledge, perform simple exercises and activities and discuss and exchange experiences, ideas and good solutions.
Meetings are led by Jonerik Nilsson and Anna Gustafsson from Skellefteå Municipality’s Centre Against Violence, both of whom have a wealth of experience of working with domestic violence.
Please get in touch for further information or to register for a course.
Call us on 073 063 87 70 or 070 661 23 28.
Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
If you can’t reach us by telephone, please leave a message with your telephone number on our voicemail and we will get back to you.
This is where we will post information about dates and places for meetings.
- What is anger? What is violence?
- How does growing up with domestic violence affect children?
- What do children need to be safe?
- From guilt and shame (afraid to talk) to openness and responsibility.
- How do we safely deal with our own anger?
- What should we do if...? There is a great to deal of security to be had from knowing how to deal with difficulties.
- Where can you turn when you need parenting help?
You can get help here
There are a number of organisations you can turn to in an emergency or to obtain ongoing support and assistance.
Centre Against Violence
For anyone who has been subjected to violence:
call 020 61 60 60 weekdays between 08:00 and 17:00
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Social services staff are available to assist you around the clock.
Weekdays 08:00–17:00: Call 0910 73 50 00 and ask to speak to the social services helpline.
Outside office hours, weekends and public holidays: Call 112 and ask to speak to the social services emergency helpline. You will then be connected to a social worker.
Kvinnofridslinjen – Sweden’s National Women’s Helpline
Call 020 50 50 50 around the clock. Calls will not appear on your telephone bill. Kvinnofridslinjen is Sweden’s national helpline to support women who are subjected to threats and violence. The helpline is staffed by social workers and nurses with experience of providing support to those subjected to all forms of violence. They can explain how to report a crime to the police, or refer you to support services in your area. They can also provide access to interpreters.
Kvinnofridslinjen – Sweden’s National Women’s Helpline [Link to external website] External link..
Women’s helpline in Skellefteå
Guldstadens kvinnojour is a local association that can help you if you are subjected to violence, threats or abuse or fear that you may be. Guldstadens kvinnojour is a non-governmental organisation and is not affiliated to the municipality nor any political party or religion. The helpline is staffed solely by women, all of whom have a duty of confidentiality. If you prefer, you can remain anonymous when speaking to the helpline.
What kind of help can the helpline offer?
Guldstadens kvinnojour can assist you by:
- arranging sheltered accommodation for you and your children where you can feel safe;
- helping you to contact organisation such as the Centre for Knowledge on Men's Violence against Women, social services, healthcare providers, the police, legal counsel and housing providers;
- offering advice and support regarding your situation;
- accompanying you to provide support in any trial; and
- helping and supporting you and your children once you leave sheltered accommodation.
How do I contact the women’s helpline in Skellefteå?
You can call the helpline Monday to Friday on 0910 150 03. If you need to speak to someone outside office hours, at weekends or on public holidays, call 112 and ask to speak to the social services emergency helpline.
Assault is a crime whether it takes place in the home or outside. Domestic violence includes threats, physical violence, psychological abuse or sexual violence, including being forced to have sex within a relationship. The police are responsible for investigating crime and assessing your need for protection. You can report a crime you have been subjected to or witnessed to the police. The police will interview you about what has happened. You have the right to take someone you trust with you to the interview to support you.
What help can the police offer you?
The police can assist you in a number of ways:
- You may be provided with a personal safety alarm so that you can quickly call for help.
- A restraining order may be issued against your abuser prohibiting them from visiting or contacting you.
- You may be offered a protected address, so that the authorities do not reveal how you can be contacted.
- If the threat is deemed sufficiently serious, you may be given a protected identity – i.e., a new name and personal identity number – so that it will be difficult to track you down.
How should I contact the police?
The police have two telephone numbers: in an emergency, you should always call 112; if you have any questions and you are not in an emergency, you can call the police information number, 114 14. These numbers are the same wherever you are in Sweden. You can also email the police at email@example.com.
The courts and legal counsel
When a crime is reported to the police, a prosecutor and the court will decide whether the suspect should be detained and held in custody, which will often be the case if, for example, they consider that their is a continued risk of abuse. Once the police have investigated the offence, a prosecutor will decide whether to prosecute the suspect, in which case there will be a trial.
During the trial, the prosecutor will help you to prove that the person who has committed an offence against you is guilty as charged. You are also entitled to have a counsel for the injured party appointed to help and support you during the investigation and trial.
If you require any other legal counsel – for example, if you intend to divorce your abuser – you can contact a private law firm.
What help am I entitled to during a trial?
- During the investigation and trial, you are entitled to have lawyer appointed to support you free of charge. This is called a counsel for the injured party. The police will help you to arrange this.
- You can obtain support free of charge from the Centre for Knowledge on Men's Violence against Women, Guldstadens kvinnojour (the voluntary women’s helpline in Skellefteå) and Victim Support Sweden, all of whom can offer advice during and after the trial.
- You can apply for national assistance to pay the costs arising from the trial.
How do I get in touch with the courts and lawyers?
If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the Swedish Prosecution Authority by telephone on 010 562 64 80.
If you have been assaulted, contact your local health centre or A&E department to receive treatment for your injuries. It is important that you are thoroughly examined and that the doctor or nurse describes in writing and photographs your injuries. Try to make sure that the person who has assaulted you is not with you when you see the doctor or nurse.
How can the health service help me?
The health service can help by arranging for you to have continued contact with:
- a counsellor, who can listen to what you have to say and offer support and advice;
- a psychiatric clinic at the hospital, where you can receive help if you have any psychological problems; and
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (BUP), where your children can receive care and assistance if they have any psychological problems.
How do I get in touch with the health service?
If you need help in an emergency, call 112 or visit your nearest A&E department.
If there is no emergency, you can contact the psychiatric clinic in Skellefteå yourself and speak to someone there. You can reach the clinic’s emergency helpline on 0910 77 19 19.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (BUP) can be reached on 0910 77 19 20. The clinic is open during office hours.
Rådgivningen Oden – for alcohol, drug and gambling-related problems
Abusers may sometimes act under the influence of alcohol. Both the abuser and the victim can turn to Rådgivningen Oden for help and advice. Staff at Oden have considerable experience of the problems associated with alcohol and other drugs. You can speak to them alone or as a family.
It will not cost you anything to visit Oden and everyone working their has a duty of confidentiality regarding anything you say to them – as long as this does not conflict with their duty to report concerns about the welfare of your children, in which case they will contact social services.
How do I get in touch with Rådgivningen Oden?
You can either visit the office of Rådgivningen Oden at Köpmangatan 13 F in Skellefteå or telephone on 0910 73 65 54. Telephones are staffed from 08:00 until 17:00. At other times you can leave a message on the answering machine and someone will call you back.
If you have any questions about alcohol or other drugs, you can also contact the Addiction Clinic at Skellefteå Hospital. The Addiction Clinic, which is situated close to the Psychiatric Clinic, is open during office hours.
How do I get in touch with the Addiction Clinic?
The Addiction Clinic can be reached by telephone on 0910 77 10 00 during office hours. If you have any questions or concerns you can also call the addiction helpline on 0910 77 19 30 between 16:00 and 09:00.
Victim Support Skellefteå
If you are the victim of or witness to a crime, you can get help and support by calling Victim Support Skellefteå. Those staffing the helpline have a duty of confidentiality and are not permitted to disclose anything you say to them to a third party.
How do I get in touch with Victim Support Skellefteå?
You can either call Victim Support Skellefteå on 0910 70 18 20 or the national organisation Victim Support Sweden on 116 006. You can learn more about the work of Victim Support Sweden here [Link to external website] External link..