«Domestic violence against women remains a common problem in Latvia even though major law amendments have been performed in recent years,» says Saeima’s Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee Inese Laizane says.
She says that victims often suffer violence quietly and accept such treatment as a norm. However, society has to become more aware of the terrible consequences that result from emotional and physical violence. This is why people should be educated how they should act in such situation.
Representatives of Welfare Ministry told members of the committee that Latvia has a very high level of tolerance towards domestic violence. Only 64% of residents believe domestic violence against women is unacceptable and should be punished. Ministry’s representatives mentioned that the average awareness index in the rest of the EU is 84%, BNN was told by Saeima’s press-service.
31% of residents believe that domestic violence is a private affair that should be resolved by the family. Only 54% of people are aware of different support services for women who have become victims of domestic violence.
Data compiled for the first nine months of 2016 shows that police had made a total of 143 decisions on separating aggressive people from victims of domestic violence. The majority of separation requests were received from women: 67 asked for protection from their partners, 37 wives asked for protection from their husbands and 15 women asked for protection from sons.
At the same time, State Police also received 540 court decisions on temporary protection against violence, ministry’s representatives mentioned at the meeting.
As mentioned by Welfare Ministry’s expert Agnese Gaile, the ministry intends to focus on the matter of reducing domestic violence. Specialists will focus on raising public awareness, working with experts and improving specialists’ skills of working with victims of violence.
On Wednesday, 8 March, deputies discussed matters associated with domestic violence and gender equality in Latvia, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.
Members of the committee mentioned the major difference between pension sizes as the most worrying factor. Last year, average pension size was EUR 323.67 for men and EUR 282.49 for women. This difference leads to a large number of women being subjected to poverty risk. The reasons for the different in pay should be searched among employed men and women. For example, average monthly wage was EUR 907 form men and EUR 762 for women in Latvia in Q1 2016.
According to the committee’s chairperson, more active involvement of society is necessary to improve equal rights avoid stereotypes that often influence the choice of education and pay.