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Sunday 20.08.2017 | Name days: Bernhards, Boriss
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39% of Latvian women have suffered physical or sexual abuse

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUApproximately 39% of Latvian women have suffered physical or sexual abuse at some point in life. This is the seventh highest index of violence against women in the European Union, as concluded by EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) researchers.

Over the course of April-September 2012, FRA specialists interviewed 42,000 EU women aged 18 to 74 (approximately 1,500 in each country).

This survey revealed that 33% of EU women have experienced acts of physical or sexual violence at some point in life. This applies to 62 million women.

Latvia is on the seventh place in Europe in this particular area. The first on the list is Denmark, where 52% of women have suffered physical or sexual violence at some point. The list also includes Finland (47%), Sweden (46%), the Netherlands (45%), France and the UK (44%).

FRA researchers emphasize – differences in the spread of violence in some countries can be explained with multiple social characteristics, such as the level of openness at which it is allowed to discuss violence with other people.

Higher sex equality may increase the level of openness, because it is likely that in a society with higher level of openness, acts of violence can be resolved openly and punished accordingly, specialists explain. Risk factors can increase everyday contact with violence. These include employment models (working from home or having to go to work) and social life – going out, meeting people, etc.

In addition to physical violence, women in the EU often have to deal with cyber-violence, stalking, psychological abuse and sexual harassment.

Approximately 43% of women have suffered different degrees of violence with their current or previous partners: public humiliation, threats, house arrests or other kinds of violence. 60% of women have experienced such things.

55% of EU women have experienced different kinds of sexual harassment – unpleasant touching, hugging or kissing. 32% admit it was their boss, colleague or customer doing those things. Such situations in Latvia were experienced by 47% of women.

Unfortunately, women do not often report acts of violence to authorities, as concluded by FRA researchers. For example, 67% of EU women do not report acts of violence to the police or other organizations. 74% say they did not inform the police about stalkers.

According to FRA Director Morten Kjaerum, results of this survey should not and cannot be ignored. This survey shows that gender-based violence against women is a pervasive problem in all countries of the EU.

FRA specialists say many social groups need to be involved in activities to combat gender-based violence against women. This includes employers, healthcare specialists and internet service providers.

They promise to use results of the survey to achieve political changes in the EU. The agency has proposed different offers to improve the situation.

FRA specialists believe EU member states should train their police officers, healthcare specialists, employers and social support specialists and supply them with resources necessary for them to be able to help victims of such violence.

It is also important to improve knowledge of men and women about violence and ways of preventing conflicts from breaking out.

FRA has other proposals as well. The agency promises to work with member states in order to carry out all recommendations. FRA also plans to cooperate with the European Commission, European Parliament, European Council and European Institute for Gender Equality

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