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Man who punched and kicked woman avoids prison sentence in Ogre

The Zemgale District Court in Ogre has sentenced a man to two years of probationary supervision for beating up a woman and causing what was described as 'moderate bodily harm'. In this case 'moderate' means broken ribs, fractures in other parts of her body and bruises after the perpetrator pulled the woman by the hair, punched her in the face, and kicked her.

Judge Zeltīte Kusiņa ruled in the Zemgale district court in Ogre that the accused – who has not been named –was guilty, but sentenced him to just two years of probationary supervision for his brutal assault: so no jail time.

The judge was reprted to have taken into account several circumstances, including a "positive" description of the man's character by the Probation Service which proved to be very important.

Nor was it the first time the convicted man has displayed violent tendencies. He had previously been punished for causing actual bodily harm in another case, after which he began to undergo probationary supervision and is visiting a psychologist. He also said that he regrets what he did and apologized to the victim, who forgave him, the judge said.

"This person really cooperated actively and not formally within the framework of already started probation. So he fulfills his obligations, there are no violations, he is interested in receiving what this punishment gives. These were moderate injuries, which, yes, cause damage to the victim's health, but do not threaten life," said Kusiņa.

The maximum penalty for such an offense is three years in prison. However the prosecutor in the case, Laura Majevska, had not demanded jail time for the violent man. 

"The purpose of punishment is not only to punish a person. The purpose of punishment is to punish a person and restore justice, resocialize a person and prevent a person from repeating these criminal offenses. And in the opinion of the state prosecution, the goal of punishment can be achieved most effectively with this type of punishment," Majevska said by way of justification.

The verdict in this particular case came only about a month after the murder in Jēkabpilis committed by Leon Rusiņš against his former partner, the mother of his child. The murder, committed in broad daylight infront of the child, sparked outrage and a wide debate on Latvia's problem with domestic violence and violence against women. Rusiņš has yet to be apprehended and is now on the EU's most wanted list.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Welfare issued a statement this week that Latvia is one of the European Union member states where violence against women and domestic violence is particularly common. In 2021 3 women were killed by their partners and 16 by another family member. Per capita this is the highet indicator in the European Union.

According to the data of the 2021 survey on the prevalence of violence in Latvia conducted by the Central Statistics Office, a quarter or 25.1% of women aged 18 to 74 had experience of sexual or physical violence in adulthood. 16% of women experienced physical violence, and 9.0% experienced sexual violence.

The prevalence of violence in Latvia is also indicated by the data of the State Police, as the number of court decisions on temporary protection against violence has increased in recent years, which indicates that victims are more likely to use legal protection when seeking protection in court. According to statistics, 977 court decisions on temporary protection against violence were received in 2021, while in 2022 there were 1124 decisions.

"Violence against women and domestic violence is still a complex and often hidden problem among the population of Latvia. Women are often afraid to report violence or seek help because they are trying to avoid repeated violence, economic dependence on the violent person, social pressure or cultural norms. Not reporting violence or hiding it makes the problem observed in the society even more difficult to solve," according to Diāna Jakaite, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Welfare.

The Ministry of Welfare is running a publicity social campaign "Violence likes silence. Don't be silent!” informing the public about how to recognize violence against women and domestic violence, while inviting fellow citizens to speak up and take action if violence against women or domestic violence is noticed.

More information about the campaign is available at  

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