In case of immediate risk, call the police on 112
Are you or others at immediate risk? Then call the police emergency number 112.
What is violence?
Violence can be physical, sexual or psychological. Neglect is also considered a form of violence.
Violence can happen in all kinds of situations where people come together: at home, at school, at work, in a taxi queue or on the street. Violence can occur between strangers, between acquaintances or in the workplace.
Both men and women can be the victims of violence, but there are differences in the types of violence they are subjected to. Men tend to be the victims of physical violence outside of close relationships more often than women. Women tend to be the victims of violence perpetuated by a serious intimate partner and sexual assault more often than men.
Violence can occur at any time in life. Those who are subjected to violence as children are more likely to be subjected to violence as adults (often referred to as ‘revictimisation’). Many elderly people are also subjected to violence, and violence against the elderly often occurs in close relationships.
The causes of violence and abuse are complex, but the evidence suggests that financial problems, living conditions, disabilities and substance abuse problems may increase the risk.
Violence that takes place between family members, partners or other close relations is known as domestic violence. Domestic violence can be particularly complicated because the abuser is an important person in the victim’s life. It can also be more difficult to escape the violence. Domestic violence often means that the victim is not safe in their own home.
Physical violence is the use of physical force to harm or control another person. It can include punching, kicking, choking, throwing objects at the other person, burning them with a cigarette or a variety of other actions. Threatening someone with a weapon can also be seen as an act of physical violence.
Corporal punishment during childhood is prohibited in Norway and is considered a form of physical violence against children.
Sexual violence includes all forms of coercion into sexual acts. It includes rape, where a person is forced into sexual activity, such as sexual intercourse, but also other forms of sexual assault or offence, such as groping. Rape and other forms of sexual assault can occur in many different types of relationship, including between partners.
Child abuse does not have to involve coercion in order for it to be considered sexual violence. When an adult uses the power of their age to engage in sexual relations with a child, it is always considered abuse. Children can also subject other children to abuse.
Sexual harassment online, such as sharing nude photos of someone else without that person's consent, is also a form of sexual violence.
Psychological violence can take many forms and can be difficult to put into words. Control, manipulation and constant criticism are some common characteristics. Often, psychological violence has a pattern, where over time one person makes the other feel worthless or in danger.
Psychological violence often occurs in close relationships, such as parental psychological violence against children, or a spouse's psychological violence against their partner. We normally talk about psychological violence in close relationships, but bullying can also be seen as a form of psychological violence.
Neglect is where a person’s basic needs are not met. This is a form of violence that can be found in relationships where one person is responsible for another person – for example, parents caring for their children, adult children caring for their ageing parents, or an institution responsible for a person with a disability.
Basic needs can be physical (such as food, clean clothing, physical security, or medication) or psychological.
Negative social control
Various forms of invasive or negative social control can be seen as violence, threats or coercion. The aim of this type of control may be to ensure that individuals conform to family or group norms, such as honour-related violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
How does violence affect health?
Violence can harm the health of the victim in many different ways. It is important to point out that not all victims of violence struggle with their health, and that some people are able to cope well. Nevertheless, violence increases the risk of many physical and mental health problems.
Violence and physical health
Direct consequences of violence can be physical injuries, such as broken ribs, bruises, wounds or internal injuries.
More and more knowledge has recently emerged about the connection between exposure to violence and physical health. Common physical health problems, such as headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness and muscle pain, are more common in victims of violence than in people who have not been subjected to violence. Serious physical illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer are also more common among victims of violence. Violence can thus have a very broad and wide-ranging impact on health.
Those who are subjected to violence both in childhood and adulthood have a higher risk of developing health problems than those who are subjected in either childhood or adulthood only. Experiencing many different types of violence also increases the risk of health problems.
Violence and mental health
Victims of violence are at greater risk of struggling with depression and anxiety. Long-term, serious violence, such as growing up with a very violent and controlling parent, can cause complex psychological damage. Victims of violence are also more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs. There is a strong link between violence and acts of self-harm, including attempted suicide.
Violence and abuse can lead to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms can include reliving painful memories in an unpleasant way, avoiding situations that remind the person of the violence, and negative effects on mood, thoughts and stress.
Reporting violence or abuse
If you are a victim of violence or abuse, help is available. Talking about what you've experienced with someone you trust can make it easier to seek help.
If you become aware that someone is being subjected to violence or abuse, or is at risk of harm, there are ways you can help. In some cases, you may also have a statutory duty to prevent such harm.
You can take action to prevent domestic violence and sexual offences by reporting your concern to the police or to the child welfare services, or by helping the victim to safety, for example, at a crisis centre, hospital or other safe place. In many cases, it is possible to report or discuss your concern anonymously.
Support services for victims and relatives
Where to get urgent help
Other places to get help and support
Get help (dinutvei.no)
Other support services and voluntary organisations
There are many different support services for victims of violence and abuse. The perpetrators of violence and abuse can also seek effective help.