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Bostaden collaborates to combat domestic violence


Mikael Lundgren och Mats Bäckström
Mikael Lundgren and Mats Bäckström.

Bostaden has a collaboration with the police and the non-profit organisation Huskurage. The aim is to reduce violence in close relationships among our tenants.

“We want to give our tenants advice on how to act. This can prevent violence – and even save lives,” says Mikael Lundgren, Head of Administration at Bostaden.

 

Violence in close relationships is classified as a public health problem by the World Health Organization (WHO). In Sweden, around 20 people die every year as a result of violence from a present or former partner, and at the same time two children in every school class live in a home where physical or psychological violence occurs. Bostaden has now begun a collaboration with the police and the Huskurage organisation the aim of which is to prevent violence in close relationships by giving neighbours tips on how they can act.

“Caring about one’s fellow citizens is actually what Huskurage is all about – daring to do something if you suspect that a neighbour is being maltreated. This might for example mean banging on the door or calling the police,” says Mikael Lundgren and continues:

“You should do what you feel that you dare and can do – as long as you do something. Perhaps make an anonymous call to the police.

To inform tenants, Bostaden has posted notices in stairwells with information about what to do if anyone suspects violence is occurring. And Huskurage say the notices have an impact where they are posted.

"According to Huskurage, a perpetrator is physically violent less often, less brutally, and not for as long if that person knows that there is a risk that the neighbours will act if they hear something,” says Mats Bäckström of the Umeå police.

He hopes that the collaboration will help prevent violence and reduce the number of unreported cases.

“This type of crime is often difficult to talk about – and for various reasons is difficult to report. By talking about the issue and acting on one’s suspicions, which is something we believe can be very valuable. It’s a fantastic initiative that Bostaden has initiated,” Mats Bäckström says.

He goes on:

"If you are afraid to act alone, you can form a group with other neighbours and approach the person together."

Mats Bäckström says that children who have grown up in homes where violence in close relationships occurs are at greater risk of being violent themselves as adults and that they are more likely to get caught up in destructive behaviour.

“Then you understand how important this issue is – we have to prevent this type of crime as far as possible,” says Mats Bäckström.

Huskurage is a tried and tested concept used by many of Sweden’s housing companies.

“We used to work with preventing crime related to our buildings, for example by having good lighting and security walks – but now we want to take the next step. We hope that it will have an impact and that it becomes clear to the perpetrators that their behaviour is not acceptable,” says Mikael Lundgren.