National Sexual Rights Law and Policy Database

Finland

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Adult sex work edit topic

Evaluation code: Selling and buying sexual services criminalized

Which approach is taken?edit question

Selling and buying sexual services criminalized.

Public Order Act 612/2003, Section 7-Other activities causing disturbance: It is prohibited to purchase sexual services or offer sexual services against payment in a public place. For the purposes of this Act, sexual services mean sexual intercourse and equivalent sexual acts as defined in Chapter 20, section 10(1) of the Criminal Code (39/1889).

The Criminal Code of Finland, Ch. 20, Section 8: Abuse of a victim of prostitution (10.4.2015) (743/2006)

(1) A person who, by promising or giving remuneration involving direct economic benefit induces a person referred to as victim in section 9 or 9a or in chapter 25, section 3 or 3a [*] to engage in sexual intercourse or in a comparable sexual act shall be sentenced, unless the act is punishable pursuant to section 8a, for abuse of a victim of prostitution to a fine or imprisonment for at most six months.

(2) Also a person who takes advantage of the remuneration referred to in subsection 1 promised or given by a third person, by engaging in sexual intercourse or a comparable sexual act with the victim referred to in said subsection, shall be sentenced for abuse of a victim of prostitution.

(3) An attempt is punishable.

Section 9 – Pandering:

“(1) A person who, in order to gain economic benefit to himself/herself or to someone else,

(1) keeps a room or other premises where sexual intercourse or other comparable sexual acts are offered for remuneration;

(2) otherwise takes advantage of the performance of such an act by someone else; or

(3) entices or intimidates another to such an act, shall be sentenced for pandering to a fine or to imprisonment for at most three years.

(2) an attempt is punishable.”

Section 9(a) - Aggravated pandering (650/2004):

If, in pandering,

(1) considerable financial benefit is sought,

(2) the offence is committed in a particularly methodical manner,

(3) grievous bodily harm, a serious illness or a state of mortal danger or comparable particularly grave suffering is inflicted intentionally or through gross negligence on another person or

(4) the object is a child younger than 18 years of age and the offence is aggravated also when assessed as a whole, the offender shall be sentenced for aggravated pandering to imprisonment for at least four months and at most six years.

(2) An attempt is punishable.

Section 10 – Definitions (563/1998)

(1) For the purposes of this chapter, sexual intercourse means the sexual penetration, by a sex organ or directed at a sex organ, of the body of another.

(2) For the purposes of this chapter, a sexual act means an act whose purpose is sexual arousal or satisfaction and which is sexually significant in view of the circumstances of the persons involved.

If partial/total criminalization or an other punitive regulation, which acts are criminalized? How severe is the punishment?edit question

Offering and/or purchasing sex in public; purchasing sex from victim of prostitution, keeping a room for sex work and pandering are illegal. The severity of punishments is mentioned above.

If not criminalized, is there regulation?edit question

None.

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No customary and religious law applies

Adultery edit topic

Evaluation code: No

Is adultery a criminal offense?edit question

No.

What is the burden of proof?edit question

N/A

How severe is the punishment?edit question

N/A

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No Customary and religious law / No information

Evaluation code: 16-17

Topic tags:

  • Other
  • Customary and Religious Laws

What is the age of sexual consent?edit question

16-17

The Criminal Code of Finland, Ch. 20, Sec. 6:

(1) A person who by touching or otherwise performs a sexual act on a child younger than sixteen years of age, said act being conducive to impairing his or her development, or induces him or her to perform such an act, shall be sentenced for sexual abuse of a child to imprisonment for at least four months and at most four years.

“(2) Also a person who has sexual intercourse with a child younger than sixteen years of age, if the offence when assessed as a whole is not aggravated in the manner referred to in section 7, subsection 1, shall be sentenced for sexual abuse of a child. In addition, a person who acts in the manner referred to in subsection 1 or above in the present subsection with a child who has reached the age of sixteen but is younger than eighteen years of age, if the offender is the parent of the child or is in a position comparable to that of a parent and lives in the same household with the child, shall be sentenced for sexual abuse of a child.”

The Criminal Code of Finland, Ch 20, Section 5 - Sexual abuse (563/1998)

(1) A person who abuses his or her position and entices one of the following into sexual intercourse, into another sexual act essentially violating his or her right of sexual self-determination, or into submission to such an act,

(1) A person younger than eighteen years of age, who in a school or other institution is subject to the authority or supervision of the offender or in another comparable manner subordinate to the offender,

(2) A person younger than eighteen years of age, whose capacity of independent sexual self-determination, owing to his or her immaturity and the age difference of the persons involved, is essentially inferior to that of the offender, where the offender blatantly takes advantage of this immaturity.

The Criminal Code of Finland, Ch. 20, Sec. 10 – Definitions: Under the Criminal Code, sexual intercourse is defined as “the sexual penetration, by a sex organ or directed at a sex organ or anal aperture, of the body of another.”

Are there defenses/exceptions?edit question

Other.

The Criminal Code of Finland, Ch. 20, Sec. 7(a)- Restrictive provision: “An act that does not violate the sexual autonomy of the subject and where there is no great difference in the mental and physical maturity of the parties shall not be deemed sexual abuse of a child, or the aggravated sexual abuse of a child referred to in section 7, subsection 1, paragraph 1.”

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

CRL applies.

Evaluation code: 16-17

Topic tags:

  • Other

What is the age of sexual consent?edit question

16-17

See Different sex age of consent section.

Are there defenses/exceptions?edit question

Other.

See Different sex age of consent section.

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No Customary and religious law / No information

Conscientious Objection edit topic

Evaluation code: Prohibited

Is there a law or policy that permits health professionals to conscientiously object to the provision of any sexual and/or reproductive health service? If so, are there referrals or emergency service requirements?edit question

Prohibited

In recent years, some Finns have expressed support for a legally recognized right to conscientious objection for healthcare providers who object to providing abortions on moral or religious grounds. Thus far, these initiatives have been unsuccessful. In September 2015 a Citizen’s Initiative was submitted to Parliament for the enactment of legislation. (Validator: Family Federation of Finland).

Where is this provision found?edit question

N/A

What are the grounds for refusal to provide an sexual and reproductive health service?edit question

N/A

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No Customary and religious law / No information

Contraception edit topic

Evaluation code: Not prohibited

Topic tags:

  • Legally restricted

Are any contraceptives prohibited in the country?edit question

Not prohibited.

(Validator: Family Federation of Finland)

Are there legal restrictions on contraceptives?edit question

Legally restricted

Sterilization is legal for contraceptive reasons when person is aged 30, or has three children, or lacks other methods to prevent pregnancy; law also authorizes sterilization for health, eugenic, or social reasons. (Validator: Family Federation of Finland)

What contraceptives are available? Are there restrictions?edit question

Oral contraceptives, intrauterine device, IUS, male condom, female condom, injectables, contraceptive patch, vaginal rings, implants, emergency contraception, female sterilization, and vasectomy. (Family Fed’n of Finland, EU Member States’ Positions on Sexual and Reproductive Rights Issues)

Prescriptions are required for hormonal contraception. Emergency contraception has been prescription-free since spring 2015. (Validator: Family Federation of Finland)

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No Customary and religious law / No information

Crimes committed in the name of honour and passion edit topic

Evaluation code: Unclear

Does the law provide for a complete defense to or mitigation of sentences for gender-based violence offenses based on honour, passion, provocation, loss of control or other similar factors?edit question

Unclear

There is a general mitigating factor for “exceptional and sudden temptation that has led to the offence” or the “exceptionally great contribution of the injured party” which decreased the “capability of the perpetrator to conform to the law”. It is unclear whether these mitigation factors apply to gender-based violence.

The above mitigating factors, if proven, create a partial defense to the crime “manslaughter”. A person will instead be convicted of “killing”.

It is also important to note that reconciliation between the perpetrator and the injured person is also a mitigating factor in sentencing.

The Criminal Code of Finland, Chapter 6 – Sentencing (515/2003) General provisions, Section 6 –Grounds reducing the punishment: The following are grounds for reducing the punishment: (2) strong empathy or an exceptional and sudden temptation that has led to the offence, the exceptionally great contribution of the injured party or a corresponding circumstance that has been conducive to decreasing the capability of the perpetrator to conform to the law, (3) reconciliation between the perpetrator and the injured person, other attempts of the perpetrator to prevent or remove the effects of the offence or his or her attempt to further the clearing up of the offence...

Chapter 21 - Homicide and bodily injury (578/1995), Section 3 - Killing (578/1995) (1) If the manslaughter, in view of the exceptional circumstances of the offence, the motives of the offender or other related circumstances, when assessed as a whole, is to be deemed committed under mitigating circumstances, the offender shall be sentenced for killing to imprisonment for at least four and at most ten years.

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No Customary and religious law / No information

Marital rape edit topic

Evaluation code: Yes

Is marital rape criminalized?edit question

Yes.

Finland outlawed marital rape on June 1, 1994. Spousal rape is now treated by the criminal code in the same way as non-spousal rape. (Comm. on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Concluding Comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women: Finland, 1995.)

The Criminal Code of Finland, Ch. 20, Section 1-Rape:

(1) “A person who forces another into sexual intercourse by the use or threat of violence shall be sentenced for rape to imprisonment for at least one year and at most six years.”

(2) “Also a person who, by taking advantage of the fact that another person, due to unconsciousness, illness, disability, state of fear or other state of helplessness, is unable to defend himself or herself or to formulate or express his or her will, has sexual intercourse with him or her, shall be sentenced for rape.”

(3) “An attempt is punishable.”

The Criminal Code of Finland, Ch. 20, Sec. 2-Aggravated Rape:

“(1) If in the rape,

(1) grievous bodily injury, serious illness or a state or mortal danger is intentionally inflicted on another,

(2) the offence is committed by several people, or especially hard mental or physical suffering is caused,

(3) victim of the offence is minor (under 18)

(4) the offence is committed in a particularly brutal, cruel or humiliating manner, or

(5) a firearm, edged weapon or other lethal instrument is used or a threat of other serious violence is made and the rape is aggravated also when assessed as a whole, the offender shall be sentenced for aggravated rape to imprisonment for at least two years and at most ten years.”

“(2) An attempt is also punishable.”

The offense of rape may, however, be mitigated if the circumstances of the offence and the “slight degree of the violence or threat” indicate that such mitigation is warranted.

What is the burden of proof? Is it the same or different from rape outside of marriage?edit question

Code of Judicial Procedure; Ch. 17; Sec. 1:

“(1) In a civil case the plaintiff shall prove the facts that support the action. If the defendant presents a fact in his or her favour, he or she shall prove it.

(2) In a criminal case the plaintiff shall prove the facts that support his or her claim.”

How severe is the punishment for marital rape? Is it the same or different from rape outside of marriage?edit question

The punishment for marital rape is the same as non-marital rape, and carries a sentence of one to six years.

The Criminal Code of Finland, Ch. 20, Section 1-Rape:

(1) “A person who forces another into sexual intercourse by the use or threat of violence shall be sentenced for rape to imprisonment for at least one year and at most six years.”

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No customary and religious law applies

Sexuality education edit topic

Evaluation code: Mandated

Does the legal framework protect the right to education?edit question

Yes, the Finnish Constitution, as well as subsequent legislation, provides for a right to education.

Constitution of Finland, Ch. 2, Sec. 16: Everyone has the right to basic education free of charge. Provisions on the duty to receive education are laid down by an Act. The public authorities shall, as provided in more detail by an Act, guarantee for everyone equal opportunity to receive other educational services in accordance with their ability and special needs, as well as the opportunity to develop themselves without being prevented by economic hardship. The freedom of science, the arts and higher education is guaranteed.”

Basic Education Act 628/1998: The purpose of education referred to in this Act is to support pupils’ growth into humanity and into ethically responsible membership of society and to provide them with knowledge and skills needed in life. Furthermore, the aim of pre-primary education, as part of early childhood education, is to improve children’s capacity for learning.

Is there a law or policy mandating the government (or its regulatory bodies) to implement sexuality education? Is there a law or policy prohibiting the government (or its regulatory bodies) from implementing sexuality education?edit question

Mandated.

Starting in 2000, sexuality education (also referred to as “Health Education”) became mandatory for students between the ages of 13 and 15. (Euro. Parliament, Policies for Sexuality Education in the European Union, 2013).

Does the law mandate the provision of sexuality education to certain age groups? If so, which ones? Does the law prohibit the provision of sexuality education to certain age groups? If so, which ones?edit question

Mandates (age groups: 13-15).

See above.

Does the law mandate the provision of education on certain topics? If so, which ones? Does the law prohibit the provision of education on certain topics? If so, which ones?edit question

There is no law in Finland mandates sexual health education on certain topics. However, there are trends in curriculum across schools. Beginning at age 13 (around 7th grade), schools begin to give instruction on puberty and menstruation. In 8th grade, the topics of sexual intercourse, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, dating, and emotions were introduced. Finally, in 9th grade, sexuality education covered the following topics: genitalia and their functioning, ejaculations, conception, pregnancy, birth, and abortion. (Osmo Kontula & Elina Haavia-Mannila, Finland)

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No Customary and religious law / No information

Third party authorization for sexual and reproductive health services - general edit topic

Evaluation code: No

Is third party authorization in order to access any sexual and reproductive health services?edit question

No.

Evaluation code: No

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access any sexual and reproductive health service?edit question

No.

Parental consent is not required for sexual and reproductive health services, nor is it required for abortion. (Infopankki, Contraception)

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No Customary and religious law / No information

Evaluation code: No consent requirement

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access oral contraceptives?edit question

No consent requirement.

Youth are not required to seek permission or authorization in order to make a doctor’s appointment and get a prescription for contraceptives. (Infopankki, Contraception)

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No consent requirement

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access intrauterine devices?edit question

No consent requirement.

See Parental consent to oral contraceptives section.

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No consent requirement

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access hormonal implants?edit question

No consent requirement.

See Parental consent to oral contraceptives section.

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No consent requirement

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access emergency contraception?edit question

No consent requirement.

See Parental consent to oral contraceptives section.

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No consent requirement

Topic tags:

  • Legally restricted

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access abortion?edit question

No consent requirement (Infopankki, Contraception).

Are there exceptions?edit question

Legally restricted.

Law No. 239 of 24 March 1970 on the interruption of pregnancy, as amended by Law No. 564 of 19 July 1978 and Law No. 572 of 12 July 1985.

An abortion provided for the reasons set forth in the 1970 Abortion Act requires the consent of two medical physicians. The Act requires that abortions be performed at the earliest possible stage of pregnancy. The Act also provides an additional exception to the 12-week requirement under the following circumstances: (1) The woman was not yet 17 years of age at the time of conception; or (2) “Other special reasons” Even if one of the above circumstances apply, the State Medical Board may not authorize an abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy.

The State Medical Board may authorize the termination of a pregnancy if, as a result of amniocentesis or an ultrasonic examination, serological tests, or another reliable examination, it is established that the embryo is affected by a serious disease or physical disability, provided that the 24th week of pregnancy has not expired. (Validator: Family Federation of Finland).

Evaluation code: No information

Topic tags:

  • Legally restricted

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access sterilization?edit question

No information.

Are there exceptions?edit question

Legally restricted.

Sterilization is legal for contraceptive reasons when person is aged 30, or has three children, or lacks other methods to prevent pregnancy; law also authorizes sterilization for health, eugenic, or social reasons. (Validator: Family Federation of Finland)

Evaluation code: No consent requirement

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access HIV testing?edit question

No consent requirement

Sexual and reproductive services related to family planning, STIs, and pre- and post-natal care are available without parental consent. (Family Fed’n of Finland, EU Member States’ Positions on Sexual and Reproductive Rights Issues)

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No consent requirement

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access sexually transmitted infections testing?edit question

No consent requirement.

See Parental consent to HIV testing section.

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No

Is the consent of a spouse/partner/father of the child required in order to access any sexual and reproductive health service?edit question

No.

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No Customary and religious law / No information

(Validator: Family Federation of Finland)

Evaluation code: No consent requirements

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access oral contraceptives?edit question

No consent requirements.

Sexual and reproductive services related to family planning, STIs, and pre- and post-natal care are available without the consent of a third party. (Family Fed’n of Finland, EU Member States’ Positions on Sexual and Reproductive Rights Issues).

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No consent requirements

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access intrauterine devices?edit question

No consent requirements.

See Spousal consent to oral contraceptives section.

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No consent requirements

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access hormonal implants?edit question

No consent requirements.

See Spousal consent to oral contraceptives section.

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No consent requirements

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access emergency contraception?edit question

No consent requirements.

See Spousal consent to oral contraceptives section.

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No consent requirements

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access abortion?edit question

No consent requirements.

While spousal consent is not required in order for the woman to have an abortion, the 1970 Abortion Act provides that the father of the expected child should be give an opportunity to state his opinion regarding the termination of the pregnancy, if such opinion seems “justified in the particular case.”

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No consent requirements

Topic tags:

  • Legally restricted

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access sterilization?edit question

No consent requirements.

Finland does require that the spouse be informed of the sterilization procedure. However, the consent of the spouse is not required. (EngenderHealth, Contraceptive Sterilization: Global Issues and Trends, 91)

Are there exceptions?edit question

Legally restricted.

Sterilization is legal for contraceptive reasons when person is aged 30, or has three children, or lacks other methods to prevent pregnancy; law also authorizes sterilization for health, eugenic, or social reasons. (Validator: Family Federation of Finland)

Evaluation code: No consent requirements

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access HIV testing?edit question

No consent requirements.

Sexual and reproductive services related to family planning, STIs, and pre- and post-natal care are available without parental consent. (Family Fed’n of Finland, EU Member States’ Positions on Sexual and Reproductive Rights Issues)

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No consent requirements

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access sexually transmitted infections testing?edit question

No consent requirements.

See Spousal consent to HIV testing section.

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A