Domestic or Family Violence and Abuse: What It Is, What To Do

Domestic violence and abuse is a serious and widespread issue. In Norwegian, it is known as:

  • vold i nære relasjoner  – violence in near relations
  • partnervold – partner violence
  • familievold – family violence

What is domestic violence and abuse

Domestic abuse includes all violence, abuse and threats of violence by a current or former family member or partner.

In addition to being physical, violence and abuse may be psychological, emotional and sexual. Examples of domestic violence include – but are not limited to:

  • Physical attack or threats of physical attack: Kicking, hitting, hair-pulling, biting, scratching, pushing, choking, being restricted or prevented from leaving. This also includes genital mutilation.
  • Psychological violence: Threats, humiliation, bullying, insults, attempts to undermine people’s self-worth, belittling or attempts at controlling behaviour.
  • Material violence: Destroying, smashing, throwing objects, slamming doors or hitting walls.
  • Sexual violence: All sexual advances against the wishes of the other person, even if you are married. This includes all penetrative and non-penetrative sexual actions, such as sexual touching, licking, sucking and masturbation. It also includes other sexualised actions, such as exposure, photography and filming, peeking, showing pornography and sexualised speech.
  • Economic violence: Controlling the partner’s or joint account and finances. Using money as a means for control.
  • Latent violence: Creating a threatening atmosphere.
  • Digital violence: Threats and harassment through phone calls, instant messages or email, monitoring the other person’s communications and social media profiles or spreading harmful or abusive content on the internet – such as pictures, rumours and private information.
  • Forced marriage: Marriage against the will of a person.
  • Exposing children to violence: Doing any of the previous actions in front of a child, constitutes violence against that child.

What to do if you experience domestic abuse:

Contact the police. The police can help you immediately, or give guidance and advice:

  • In an emergency call 112 for police or 113 for ambulance.
  • Call 800 40 008 if you have experienced violence or any other crime.
  • Visit your local police force and ask to speak to someone who works with victims of violence and abuse. All police precincts have experts on domestic violence.
  • An overview of all local police forces is available here.

You may have reasons for not wishing to contact the police. If you are an undocumented migrant, please be aware that you can get help at the Red Cross Health Centre for undocumented migrants in Oslo:

  • Ring +47 488 90 560 to get the address
  • A health clinic for anybody who does not have legal residency in Norway.
  • Completely free and confidential.
  • Operated on a drop-in basis. Tuesdays 4pm to 8pm. Thursdays 11am to 3pm.
  • See more information about opening hours and services here.

Visit or contact a crisis shelter (krisesenter):

  • Crisis shelters can offer you an immediate safe place to stay, but also offer advice and counselling.
  • All services are free.
  • You do not need an appointment or a referral.
  • You can call the shelter anonymously.
  • All municipalities have an emergency centre.
  • Locations of all crisis shelters are available here. Tick off ‘Krisesenter’ under ‘Type tilbud’.

Reach out to child welfare services if a child experiences violence or lives with domestic violence.

  • Print, then fill out and send this form by post to the child welfare services of the municipality the child lives in.
  • Call the child welfare services of the municipality the child lives in to receive guidance and advice.
  • An overview of all the municipal child welfare services is available here.
  • You can choose to be anonymous when making a report to the child welfare services.
  • Information in multiple languages about child welfare services is available here
  • Emergency? Contact the emergency phone for children and young people at +47 116 111 or alarm@116111.no.

Get medical help and advice:

  • Contact your general physician (fastlege)
  • Visit your nearest emergency room
  • Visit an assault centre (overgrepsmottak). Assault centres take care of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. They offer medical help and counselling. An overview of all assault centres is available here. Tick off ‘Overgrepsmottak’ under ‘Type tilbud’.

Receive guidance and counselling from the family counselling office (familievernskontor):

  • The Family Counselling Office can offer individual or couples counselling, therapy and support for families who are experiencing difficulties.
  • An overview of all family counselling offices is available here.

More information on domestic violence and where to get help is available in multiple languages at Dinutvei.no – a national guide for assistance, information and knowledge regarding domestic violence.

Know your rights to stay in Norway:

There are different types of residence permits that you may apply for if you have been the victim of physical or emotional violence.

  • If you hold a family immigration permit or a residence card for family members of EU/EEA citizens and you have been a victim of abuse, you may apply for a residence permit for victims of abuse.
  • If you have children in Norway whom you live with or whom you have access rights to, you can apply for family immigration with your child.
  • If your marriage is annulled because you have been pressured or forced to marry (forced marriage), it may mean that you are entitled to a residence permit on an independent basis.
  • If the person you were granted family immigration with has been granted protection in Norway, it is possible that you already hold a residence permit on an independent basis. 
  • If it is unreasonable to demand that you return to your home country, for example because it is difficult to live there as a divorcee, this may entitle you to a residence permit.
  • In very special situations, you may be granted residence on the grounds of strong humanitarian considerations.
  • If you fear that you will be subjected to violence and abuse in your home country, you can apply for protection (asylum).

Contact the UDI or your local police to find out more here.

Support Centre for Crime Victims

Call 800 40 008

If you are exposed to an act of violence, threat, blackmail, hate crime, sexual abuse or other offenses that can cause serious personal distress. The support centre can assist you through this difficult time by providing you with information, guidance and support.

  • Give information about the legal process and support you as a witness if there is a criminal trial.
  • Provide guidance and information about how to report a crime.
  • Help you apply for criminal injury compensation.
  • Support you through the legal process, from reporting a crime to the police until the case is completed and a verdict is reached.
  • See more information translated into Japanese, Spanish, Urdu, Arabic, Polish, Russian and Somali on their website here.

Information from Politiet.no, Udi.no and Dinutvei.no.

Vilde Skorpen Wikan

Freelance journalist focused on international affairs, technology and society.