Lithuania: Women March To Publicize New Law Against Domestic Violence

In December, 2011, a new law will come into force in Lithuania providing special protection for women who are victims of domestic violence. A conference drawing over 200 participants convened at the Parliament in Vilnius on October 10, focused on the implementation of the new law.  Conference speakers included a victim of domestic violence, members of Parliament, the American Ambassador, NGOs serving domestic violence victims, police officials, a representative of  Ministry of Justice, and speakers fromThe Advocates for Human Rights, Cheryl Thomas and Judge Kathryn Quaintance.  Sponsors of the conference were the United States EmbassyParliament’s Committee of Human Rights, and the Ministry of Justice. After the conference the Women’s Issues Information Center led a march to bring the new law to the attention of the general public. It was felt that the conference and march successfully got the attention of the media, politicians, and ambassadors. 

Prior to this new law, domestic violence was regarded as a private matter. Almost 20% of married women experience intimate partner violence in Lithuania. However, less than 2% (737 out of 41,982) of registered calls reporting domestic violence resulted in legal proceedings in 2009. The new legislation highlights the issue of domestic violence as a public concern. It authorizes and funds 10 new centers for victims of violence as well as management for the new system.

 

Compiled fromLithuania – EWL Members March against ViolenceEuropean Women’s Lobby (12 October 2011).