The Social Services Act

Municipalities are responsible for providing support and assistance to people in vulnerable situations through the social services.

According to the Social Services Act, one task of municipal social services is to assist and support crime victims. This includes anybody who has been subjected to violence, whether they are men or women, heterosexual or homosexual, or children. In 2007, the Act was revised to clarify the responsibility of municipalities to support crime victims. Following the revisions, the Act provides that social service providers must pay particular attention to the need for support among women, who are subject to violence and children who have witnessed violent acts.

The Social Services Act also covers women, who are subject to violence or other forms of assault, by someone close to them. The violence can have different forms – psychological, physical and sexual. In the context of the Act, ‘someone close to a victim’ refers to a person with whom the victim has or has had a close and trustful relation, such as a spouse, boy/girlfriend, sibling, child or grandchild. The Act also gives male perpetrators the right to support.

Not all municipalities provide the exact same social services, but many offer counselling, financial assistance and temporary sheltered housing.

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