'Dod pieci' charity marathon tackles violence on national scale

During the charity marathon “Dod pieci!”, Latvian public service media and the Baltic Research Journalism Centre “Re: Baltica” have highlighted a number of problems affecting society as a whole, Latvian Radio reported December 23 .

A letter will be sent to the responsible officials. It defines, on behalf of Latvian Radio, Latvian Television, Re: Baltica and charity organization Ziedot.lv, the objectives that are important for the responsible authorities to implement in order to reduce domestic violence in the country.

The letter, which includes the necessary improvements in order to minimize violence in Latvia, is addressed to the President of Latvia, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Saeima, the sectoral ministers and the Saeima commissions responsible. By February next year, a concrete plan has been requested to address this issue.

Latvian president, Egils Levits, said that violence is a shame for society and that a broad set of measures is needed to eradicate it. “I think it's a very deep problem and it will take some time before we really eliminate it,” Levits said.

However, it is already possible to reduce violence by means of legislation, for example, by introducing compulsory correctional courses for abusers. Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns said that the necessary legislative amendments are already in the process and that compulsory rehabilitation courses could be implemented by the middle of next year.

The Ministry of Welfare shall be responsible for several of the items listed in the letter. Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča (“KPV LV”) said a number of projects are in process. For example, the Bērnu māja (“Home of the Children”) project – it is intended to provide the opportunity for children suffering from abuse to only go interrogation process once, with all specialists brought together. 

Doctors who need to recognize and report various forms of violence to the responsible authorities also play an important role in reducing violence. Minister for Health Ilze Viņķele (“Development/For!”) stated that the professional standard for young medics had been improved so that they knew what to do in these situations.

The Interior Minister Sandis Ģirģens (“KPV LV”) said that these issues should be addressed together by all ministries and not by a single sector perspective. "I believe that the state needs to fund more psychological support in a variety of formats for reducing violence," the minister added.

Saeima deputies have already discussed issues of domestic violence in commissions.  Andris Skride, Chairman of the Saeima Social and Labour Affairs Commission (“Development/For!”) said:

“We have jointly raised violence as one of the topics of the coming year, including in the commission, that we will certainly include and take the lead on this process from the Saeima as a legislator. We might initiate a special law on violence. "

The Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (“New Unity”) said that the country would have a source of money to address these challenges. The key is coordinated action.

“We have to be able to admit first that it's a problem. And then we need to understand how we can tackle this problem.

And I want to say that this time, and not only this time, “Dod pieci!” has hit bullseye,” the Prime Minister said.

'Dod pieci' charity marathon has been running since December 17 and ends today, December 23.

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