In 2021, three women were killed in Latvia by their intimate partner, while 16 women were killed by a family member, which is still the highest figure in the European Union (EU), according to the Welfare Ministry.
According to the Central Statistical Office’s 2021 survey on the prevalence of violence in Latvia, one in four or 25.1 percent of women aged 18-74 reported experiencing sexual or physical violence as an adult. 16 percent of women had experienced physical violence and 9 percent had experienced sexual violence from someone.
The prevalence of violence in Latvia is also reflected in the data of the State Police, as the number of court decisions on temporary protection against violence has increased in recent years, indicating that victims are more likely to seek legal protection through the courts. According to the statistics, in 2021, 977 court decisions on temporary protection against violence were received, while in 2022 there were 1,124 decisions.
Diana Jakaite, Deputy State Secretary at the Welfare Ministry, pointed out that violence against women and domestic violence remain a complex and often silent problem among the Latvian population. Women are often afraid to report violence or seek help because they are trying to avoid repeated violence, economic dependence on the abuser, social pressure or culturally accepted norms. However, not reporting or hiding violence makes the problem even harder to tackle, she said.
The 2018 SKDS survey on public awareness and understanding of violence against women also found that 25 percent of people believe that violence against women is acceptable. Men are the most frequent perpetrators of violence in the last two years, or 97 percent of cases, according to administrative data from the State and Municipal Police.
The Welfare Ministry in a social campaign “Violence likes silence. Don’t Keep Silent!” campaign informs the public on how to recognize violence against women and domestic violence, while encouraging people to speak up and take action if they notice violence against women or domestic violence.
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