Child neglect recognized legally as abuse in Latvia

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On Thursday, November 11, the Saeima supported amendments to the Law on the Protection of the Children's Rights which provides for the determination of responsibility for the neglect of children, as well as the definition of the term “negligence” in the Law.

Neglect was recognized by law as one of the types of child abuse and defined as long-term or systematic negligence against a child which is harmful or likely to harm the development of a child or causes physical or psychoemotional suffering to the child.

Until now, the law provided that all forms of physical or emotional cruelty, sexual abuse, or other behavior which endanger the health, life, development, or self-esteem of a child should be recognized as abuse. Negligence was previously excluded.

The change also defines the concept of “non-fulfilment of childcare obligations” as not meeting a child's physical, emotional, social needs, healthcare, and education.

In addition, parents are required to cooperate with the social services, to use the offered family support and assistance programs when there is evidence of abuse or other violations of children's rights in the care of the child. The social service shall inform the Orphan's Court regarding the refusal of cooperation.

There was a wide debate in the Saeima on the biological sex of children and their identity. Another proposal, which has already been discussed, was not supported by the Members. The proposal provides that in addition to violence, erotica, and pornography, content that displays a different gender identity from the biological sex should not be shown to children.

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