Fear of crime 

Updated: 22.6.2017 - Next update: 1.5.2018

Fear of street and workplace violence increased in 2015

People are mostly afraid of violence outside the home in the evenings. The 2015 National Crime Victim Survey shows that nearly one third of the respondents (31%) were afraid of becoming a victim of violence outside the home in the evening. One in seven (14% of respondents) feared being the target of violence in the workplace or when carrying out their duties and around five per cent feared domestic violence.

The percentage of people afraid of street violence and workplace violence dropped from 2013 to 2014, but the percentage of respondents afraid of street violence, in particular, rose from the preceding year. But, despite the rise, the percentage of people afraid of street violence was lower than in 2012, when the figure was at its highest. The percentage of people who fear domestic violence has remained at the same level throughout the review period.

Women tend to fear becoming a victim of violence more often than men. Altogether 38 per cent of women in the 2015 survey reported being afraid of becoming a victim of street violence at least once in the past year whereas around 23 per cent of men reported experiencing the same fear. Women are also much more afraid of workplace violence than men. Altogether 19 per cent of women reported being afraid of workplace violence; the equivalent figure for men was nine per cent. Similarly, the percentage of women afraid of domestic violence was higher than that for men.

When examined by different age groups, there was a pattern to the fear of violence that coincided with the risk of violence in the different age groups. Both the fear and the experience of becoming a victim of violence was the lowest among those aged over 55 years. 16 per cent of those in this age group reported being afraid of street violence in the past year. Among those aged under 35, the percentage of those who feared street violence was twice as high as in the oldest age group. The figures for fear of workplace violence were highest among those aged between 25 and 54.

Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy

Description of indicator

The indicator describes the proportion of 15–74 year-olds who have reported becoming a victim of threats or physical violence during the past 12 months. The information is based on the National Crime Victim Survey, which is conducted both as a traditional mail and as an internet questionnaire.

The National Crime Victim Survey is targeted at 15–74 year-olds who have a permanent address in Finland. The survey participants are selected randomly from the Population Register Centre’s population information system. In 2014, a total of 6,792 people took part in the survey. The survey covers the incidence of becoming a victim of threats, physical violence and property offences, as well as fear of violence and the interpretation of violence. The survey also describes total levels of violence and property offences, including cases not reported to the police and thus excluded from crime statistics. The survey is intended to be repeated annually.

A new form of the National Crime Victim Survey was conducted for the first time in 2012. The National Victimisation Surveys conducted in the period 1980–2009 covered the incidence of becoming a victim of various accidents in addition to crimes. The National Crime Victim Survey differs in terms of methodology and content from the earlier victimisation surveys, and the results are not directly comparable.