In 2014, at least five women in Latvia killed their spouse. At least 58 women ended up in hospital with traumas caused by their spouse. Criminal processes were launched in regards to 48 women who had suffered injuries at the hands of their spouse. Latvia’s State Police officers had been dispatched more than 7,000 times to resolve family conflicts that year.
Data compiled by many different institutions in regards to domestic violence reflect only a small portion of violence within families. This data only reflects the cases that end up in sights of authorities, as emphasized in a report by Welfare Ministry in regards to domestic violence and violence against women in 2014.
Almost a quarter of all failed suicide attempts in 2014 were attempted after the person’s argument with family members or as a result of violence. 123 women had attempted suicide after experiencing violence or an argument with family members, partners or friends.
At the same time, victims had also used the opportunity to inform the police and allow authorities and court to decide on temporary protection against violence. Over the course between 31 March 2014 and 31 December 2015, authorities registered a total of 819 court rulings in regards to temporary protection against violence and 163 decisions of State Police in regards to separation.
In 2015, State Police made decisions to apply protection for 35 women, 28 partners, seven mothers, one father and one sister. Among the people who endangered their relatives were 36 husbands, 28 partners, seven sons and one brother. The average age of people threatening other was 42 years in 2015. The usual measure applied by courts of justice to protect people against domestic violence is a restraining order, as reported by Welfare Ministry.
In 2015, social rehabilitation services to victims of domestic violence were provided to 114 people (five men and 109 women) in 30 Latvia’s municipalities. Although rehabilitation services are available to any persons suffering from violence, in practice only people suffering from domestic violence use those services.
The ministry adds that the most commonly children are the main victims of domestic violence. Data from the child and youth trust hotline shows that the number of calls regarding domestic violence has increased in the country – around 600 annually. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of calls regarding emotional violence and abandonment recently, both of which often result in low self-esteem and other psychological problems for youngsters.
There has also been an increased in the number of parental rights being taken away from parents by orphan courts after receiving complaints about violence. In 2014, parental rights were taken away from 176 people due to violence (12.5% of all cases of parental rights being taken away).
Criminal cases were launched in relation to 325 under-aged victims of domestic violence in 2014.
Rehabilitation services were provided to 2,800 children who suffered from violence of different kind in 2014. In 82% of all cases, violence against them was carried out at home. In 67% of those cases, violence against children was exacted by parents or other people living in the family (13%). The number of children suffering from violence of other children remains high: 240 cases in 2014. Children are at risk the least when it comes to strangers. In 2014, only 5% of all cases involving violence against children included strangers.
Statistical data helps survey the extent of the problem, monitor and find solutions. Nevertheless, information detailed in the report only reveals the tip of the iceberg: there is still a large number of cases in which victims are unable or afraid to turn to anyone for help.
The ministry notes that in order to acquire quality data, it is necessary to carry out regular and in-depth work of all responsible institutions, because only joint efforts can help assess the extent of problems and search for viable solutions.