The City of Tampere engages in wide-ranging cooperation to ensure the safety of its residents
The sex crimes targeting children in Oulu and Helsinki have provoked discussion in Tampere as well. The City of Tampere constantly monitors the safety situation in close cooperation with other authorities. For example, the city has increased safety cooperation and information exchange with the police in the form of regular cooperation meetings as well as other kinds of cooperation. Through wide-ranging cooperation, we aim to guarantee the safety and the basic rights of everyone. Prevention work is a key part of making communities safer.
According to the discussions with the representatives of the Central Finland Police Department and the statistical information we have received from the police department, a phenomenon like the one in Oulu and Helsinki has not been observed in Tampere. However, according to the statistical information, the number of sex crimes is increasing both in Tampere and nationwide, which is why we will be doing our utmost to deal with this problem.
According to the Constitution of Finland, everyone has the right to personal liberty, bodily integrity and safety. Sexual harassment violates this basic right and can bring about many negative effects, particularly on the development of children and young people. Sexual harassment of children and young people means subjecting them to sexual behaviour that is inappropriate for their age. Sexual harassment can mean verbal, non-verbal or physical behaviour that is sexual in nature and unwelcome.
Sex crimes are serious crimes that adults should discuss with children and young people. Parents should talk about the issue at home with their children. It would also be a good idea to talk about the risks of using social media during those conversations. Starting these conversations will be encouraged by sending a message to all students’ parents through the Helmi system. The message will explain how the matter is being discussed at schools and how parents could talk about the issue at home with their children as well as list different organisations that you can contact concerning matters related to harassment and the anxiety caused by the issue.
Preventive work is carried out at schools in the form of sex education that is part of the health education curriculum, as well as by taking other measures. Schools reach the whole age group, and this means that doing prevention work at schools to address sexual violence and harassment and to ensure zero tolerance is very important. At schools in Tampere, students are taught to recognise when they are being subjected to harassment and violence and to assert their personal boundaries and defend their right to self-determination in these situations. Starting from 2015, schools in Tampere have organised annually for eight graders a special Sepäse day dealing with sexuality, drugs and alcohol. During the day, the students will do four guided 45-minute activities in groups of 10 people. The themes of the activities are sexual health, dating and drugs, sexual orientation and gender identity as well as safety skills and one’s own boundaries.
Supporting children and young people who have become victims of sex crimes is very important. If a school hears of sexual violence having taken place, the school will engage in cooperation with the family as well as the police, child welfare services and other authorities. The staff of school and student health services, school psychologists, school social workers and youth workers offer support and conversation-based assistance to students, families and the entire school community. Parents may also contact the City of Tampere family counselling centre if they are worried about their child’s behaviour, development or ability to cope socially or if the family wants help in coping with a crisis.
In 2018, the Finnish National Agency for Education published a guide that advises schools and educational institutions on how to prevent and address sexual harassment. The guide offers practical advice on how to address sexual harassment to principals, teachers, student welfare services, students and parents. You can find the guide on the website of the Finnish National Agency for Education: External link
Municipalities and other providers of education have a duty to create a plan for protecting students from violence, bullying and harassment. The plan describes how, for example, sexual harassment can be prevented, how it should be addressed and how the implementation of the plan should be monitored at schools. The Act on Equality between Women and Men also forbids sexual harassment and requires that is should be addressed. The Health Care Act requires carrying out inspections to ensure that the school environment is safe and healthy and that the level of psychosocial well-being is good. The inspection also covers sexual harassment and the procedures related to it.
The City of Tampere has created a handbook for those working with children who have been abused. The handbook also contains information about what to do if you are concerned about a child’s well-being.
Eliminating sexual harassment and violence from social media channels is difficult. The dangers of social media must be discussed with children and young people as part of media education, and parents should also discuss the risks of using social media with their children.
Schools can, for example, offer practical advice on what students can do if a situation is making them feel uncomfortable. Social media platforms usually allow you to remove a person from your contacts. It is also possible to report offensive content and inappropriate behaviour. In your profile settings, you can limit who can see your information. Various parties have produced materials that schools can use when discussing this topic. The Family Federation of Finland has created materials about internet safety for young people and schools that also discuss sexual harassment. You can report sexually offensive, violent and racist behaviour to the External link
that is operated by Save the Children. Virtual police officers operate in social media. They share information and work to prevent crime. It is also a good idea to have a look at the External link
. You can also find useful materials for parents on the sex education of children and young people on the External link
(instructions and materials are in Finnish).
The service can be contacted if parents are worried about their child’s behaviour, development or ability to cope socially, the family wants help in coping with a crisis, there is conflict between family members, the family is considering divorce or separation or if help is needed to deal with a divorce or separation. The family counselling centre’s telephone service offers conversation-based assistance and takes appointment bookings. Appointment booking service: Mon, Wed from 12 noon to 2 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., tel. 040 800 7910.
The health centres, student health services and occupational health services of the City of Tampere help people who have experienced violence. Health care services’ telephone counselling service and appointment booking service for making an appointment to see a doctor or nurse at your local health centre are open every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., tel. 03 10023, or, if you’re calling from a prepaid phone, 03 5657 0023.
The social stand-by service acts as the City of Tampere’s stand-by social welfare office and provides help with and guidance on emergencies related to social welfare around the clock. Tel. 0500 625 990
Submitting child welfare notifications on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., tel. 040 568 5520
Sorinkatu 12 D
The two-person team at the City of Tampere social stand-by service offers short-term support, guidance and counselling for those who have experienced domestic violence. Tel. 040 639 7899 and 050 306 2314, on weekdays from 8.30 a.m. to 4 p.m., www.tampere.fi/lahisuhdevakivalta, Facebook: @lahisuhdevakivaltatyo.
Social welfare office for adult social work
Counselling: 03 5657 0200, Mon–Fri, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Social services for families
Counselling: 040 639 7979, Mon–Fri, from 12 noon to 1 p.m.
The telephone service of the Tampere Central Police Station:
tel. 0295 414 975, Mon–Fri from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
RIKU helps and supports victims of crime, such as violent crime, their family members and witnesses in recovering from the experience. RIKU also provides advice and support for handling the criminal case.
Tel. 050 309 1551
Nalkalankatu 12 G, 2nd floor
More information on the RIKU website at https://www.riku.fi/en/home/.
The shelter is a place of safety during the crisis phase for those who have experienced domestic violence or the threat of it. You can come to the shelter by yourself or with your family regardless of your age and gender. You can come to the shelter directly or by calling the shelter first.
Mutkakatu shelter, tel. 050 309 9313 (24 h), Mutkakatu 38 B
Hämeenkatu shelter, tel. 050 337 3205 (24h), Hämeenkatu 7 (entrance at Aleksanterinkatu 27 D)
Perhekulma Puhuri offers help for all parties when a relationship is affected by frequent fighting, violence or the threat of violence. You can also seek help if you are only slightly worried.
Services for children and young people, tel. 050 572 8749 lapsenaika(at)tetuko.fi, services for adults, tel. 050 343 9432 vanhemmuustyo(at)tetuko.fi.
Suvantokatu 1 D 56
Sexual violence service unit Välitä! Crisis intervention and professionally led support groups for victims of sexual violence and their loved ones. Tel. 045 279 8090, on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or leave a call back request).
Setlementti Tampere ry, Nalkalankatu 12 G
The services provided by Setlementti Tampere ry are free for customers.
Osviitta is a place where anyone can come to talk when they are facing difficult life situations. The services are available flexibly and free of charge. Crisis support and conversation-based support is given by crisis workers and volunteer support persons.
To book an appointment, call 0400 734 793, Mon–Thu from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sorinkatu 4 C, 2nd floor
Conversation-based assistance for young people and their parents. Tel. 040 556 6661.
Hämeenkatu 22 C
Open daily from 5 p.m. to 10 a.m.
tel. 116 111 (free of charge) Mon–Fri from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sat–Sun from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Photos Veli-Matti Lahdenniemi