Finland to open new centres for abused children

Mern case foster parents convicted for abuseThe Finnish government is working on an effort to launch new centres for abused children around the country. Project director Minna Juutilainen from the National Institute for Health and Welfare said that an initial facility will be opened on a trial basis in Turku in January of 2014, following which, at least five additional centres to be launched elsewhere in 2017, pending a successful trial period.

The facilities will offer therapy and crisis services to victims, and will also serve as a home base for investigators, Juutilainen told the YLE news agency.

She said, “These children’s centres will be a public service. The police, judiciary, child welfare authorities and healthcare officials will work together for the good of children who have suffered from violence.”

She went on to add, “Nowadays, the authorities function separately in this difficult, but socially important task. This endangers the interests of children, their rights as children and legal rights.”

Senior Constable Miia Rutanen, a child abuse investigator from the Pirkanmaa Police District, agrees that having everything under a single roof is essential for the wellbeing of victims.

She told reporters, “Many children suffer from having to tell the same things over and over again in different places. The child thinks that once an adult is told, then they all must know.”

Officials said that the scheme is well underway. However, up to EUR 800,000 of additional funding needs to be secured prior to the project’s launch in 2014.