Welfare Minister stands against violence toward women

Welfare Minister Uldis Augulis wore a white ribbon to the Cabinet of Ministers meeting Tuesday and handed them out to his male colleagues to remind Latvians about the growing plague of violence against women around the world.

“The United Nations has declared November 25 the International Day to End Violence Against Women. According to research, violence against women is a problem in Latvia too, especially among domestic partners and family members. This is a very painful issue to which society must direct its attention. Especially that of the men. I therefore urge all the men in Latvia to pin a white ribbon to their clothing today to show their negative attitude and symbolize their support for eliminating all violence against women,” the minster stated in a release Tuesday.

According to data assembled by the ministry, during the year 2012-2013 at least five women committed homicide against their domestic partners, more than 100 women were injured or mutilated by a violent man, while 80% of registered child abuse cases happened inside the family unit.

Women’s resource center Marta shared data from an EU-sponsored survey that revealed 39% of respondents admitting to being victims of physical or sexual violence, and that over a hundred women suffer violence at the hands of their domestic partners on average every single day.

Amendments providing for temporary court protection against violent family members took effect in the spring of 2014, thus allowing for victims with support of law enforcement authorities to request restraining orders against those who have raised a hand against them.

In the seven months since the law entered effect, more than 300 persons have taken advantage of the protections, with 77 police rulings upholding restraining orders against persons prone to violence. A total of 257 such court orders are currently initiated in the regional departments of the State Police service.

Violence against women causes losses to the national economy, as well, with losses in productivity, health care costs, social sector and insurance costs, support service costs and other negative physical and emotional effects.

This year also marks the entry into force of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), which represents a vital instrument to combat violence against women at national and European levels.

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