Fear of crime

Updated: 1 Jun 2018
Next update: 3 Jun 2019

The indicator describes the proportion of persons aged 15 to 74 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 mail and Internet survey.

The National Crime Victim Survey is targeted at persons aged 15 to 74 who have a permanent address in Finland. The survey participants are selected randomly from the Population Register Centre’s population information system. In 2016, a total of 6,159 people took part in the survey (response rate 44.0%). 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 the statistics on offences. 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 to 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.


Fear of violence remained unchanged in 2017

People are mostly afraid of violence outside the home in the evenings. The 2017 National Crime Victim Survey shows that around one-third of the respondents (33%) were afraid of becoming a victim of violence outside the home in the evening. One in six (16% of respondents) feared being the target of violence in the workplace or when carrying out their duties and around four per cent had feared domestic violence perpetrated by some family member.

The share of those afraid of violence were at the same level as in the year before but the prevalence of both street violence and violence in the workplace has increased compared with 2014. The share pf persons afraid of street violence was, however, still lower than in 2012, when the share 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, 42 per cent of women in the 2017 survey reported being afraid of becoming a victim of street violence at least once in the past year, whereas around 24 per cent of men reported experiencing the same fear. Women are also much more afraid of workplace violence than men. In all, 22 per cent of women reported being afraid of workplace violence; the equivalent figure for men was 10 per cent. Similarly, the percentage of women afraid of domestic violence was higher than that for men.

When examined by different age group, 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 55 or over. Seventeen 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 more than double that in the oldest age group. Fear of workplace violence was mostly reported by respondents aged between 25 and 54.