What constitutes domestic abuse?
Norwegian law prohibits violence, regardless of whether it occurs within or outside of a home. It can refer to physical, mental, sexual or material violence. It also refers to honour-based violence whereby violence is used to protect a family’s honour.
You can be considered a victim of domestic abuse if you are:
- afraid of someone close to you
- forced to have sex against your will (assault, rape, prostitution)
- a child witnessing (seeing/hearing) violence or a child subjected to violence
- threatened or forced into marriage with a partner not of your choice
- being controlled, violated or humiliated
- denied contact with family and/or friends
- denied access to your own money
- threatened, verbally abused, criticised or ridiculed
- beaten, kicked, pushed, held down or strangled, or have your hair pulled or things thrown at you.
Crisis centres exist to help victims of violence and abuse from a partner, family member or any other person close to them. Assistance is rendered to women, men and children alike. Victims can choose to remain anonymous.
What a crisis centre can do for victims of domestic abuse
Crisis centres offer:
- day-time support or a temporary safe place to live; separate accommodation is available for women and men
- support that is tailored to suit the victim’s needs
- one-to-one discussions offering advice and guidance, including legal advice
- help to get information on the rights of victims experiencing abuse and/or violence
- assistance in helping to process the violence/abuse experienced
- help in making contact with/following up on public support agencies
- assistance with contacting the police, filing a complaint, obtaining a restraining order or a personal safety alarm
- follow-up and support after relocation
It is important to note that:
- victims can seek assistance from a crisis centre even if it is not an emergency and they are not in immediate danger
- help can be sought and provided without the need for victims to live at the centre
- the service is free
- no prior appointment or referral is necessary to contact the centres
- professionals and relatives of victims of violence are also welcome to contact crisis centres
Children at a crisis centre
Children would normally come to the crisis centre together with one of their parents. Specialist staff are available to help children settle in and feel safe and secure during their stay.
Safe indoor and outdoor play areas are available for children of all ages and efforts are made to ensure that children can continue their school/daycare/sport activities while staying at the centre.
Where to get help
If you and/or your child are victims of violence from a partner, family member or anyone else, you can get help in the following ways:
- Call 112 for the police or 113 for an ambulance in the case of acute or life-threatening situations. The police can also provide advice and guidance.
- Contact your nearest domestic violence shelter/crisis centre. In Arendal, you can contact the Østre Agder Crisis Centre by calling their 24-hr helpline at +47 37 01 32 80. You can ask for help even if you do not live at the centre. You can also pick up their brochures in English, Norwegian and Arabic at Unwrapped Butikkafé, Torvgaten 7, 4836 Arendal.
- Call 116 006 for the Norwegian National Domestic Violence Helpline (VO helpline). This is a free 24-hr national helpline.