[Brussels, 12 October 2011] On 10 October, the Women’s issues information center (WIIC) and their members organised a march against violence against women in Vilnius’s streets (Lithuania). The successful march took place after the Conference on the new law against violence in the private space. The conference was organised by the US Embassy and the Committee of human rights in the Parliament, together with the WIIC and the Ministry of Justice. The march got the attention of media and politicians, as well as embassy members and ambassadors of foreign countries in Lithuania (like the USA and Spain). All these decision-makers were marching together with other participants in order to show their zero tolerance towards violence against women.
This new law will come in force in the middle of November and it will mean that Lithuania will leave the contingent of EU countries which have no special legislation that protect victims of violence against women.
In Lithuania, statistics show that almost 20% of women in marital situation experience violence from their partner. However, in 2009, out of 41982 registered calls regarding domestic violence, only 737 saw legal proceedings being initiated, which amounts to 1.8% of the cases (data from the Ministry of Interior). According to the new law, 10 centres for helping victims of violence will be created and one centre will manage all these centres.
The new law in Lithuania is an instrumental step in the struggle for the recognition of violence against women as an integral public issue. Until now, the Lithuanian Penal Code was considering violence against women as a private matter. The EWL welcomes this good news from Lithuania and hopes that the new law will be accompanied by sustainable funding and support to women’s organisations providing assistance and support to women victims of male violence.
for pictures of the event.