Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2016, 08:59 GMT

Lithuania: Protection available for female victims of domestic violence

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 18 February 2003
Citation / Document Symbol LTU40525.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Lithuania: Protection available for female victims of domestic violence, 18 February 2003, LTU40525.E, available at: [accessed 31 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The United Nations Development Fund for Women's (UNIFEM) Regional Public Awareness Campaign in Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Lithuania noted that Lithuania had no specific legal provisions on domestic violence, although victims could apply extant general provisions against violence and injury (UN 2002). According to the Open Society Institute (OSI), Lithuanian police reportedly receive 50,000 domestic abuse calls every year (25 Nov. - 10 Dec. 2002). Yet, based on surveys conducted in 1997-1998 by the Lithuanian non-governmental organization (NGO), the Women's Issues Information Centre (WIIC), only approximately 16 per cent of women reported domestic abuse to police or medical authorities (Women's World 2 June 2002). In 1998 a volunteer counsellor for a Lithuanian domestic abuse helpline observed that family violence held little public interest because women rarely reported abuse to the police or other law enforcement agencies and also that it was considered a private issue, one often blamed on the victim (Bridges July-Aug. 1998). In 2002 UNIFEM's post-Soviet project manager, Zuzana Jezerska, noted that domestic violence was still considered "new" and was "not treated as a public problem," although public awareness of the issue was quite high (RFE/RL 24 May 2002). Also in 2002, the United Nations identified domestic abuse as an issue requiring greater state attention while observing that its prevalence was "persistent" (UN Dec. 2002, 29).

A 2002 UNIFEM survey found that 57 per cent of respondents could not identify domestic abuse support services in Lithuania (UN Jan. - Mar. 2002). The Research Directorate found a number of NGOs and support services mentioned in the sources consulted for this Response. NGOs that have domestic violence as a focus include the WIIC, the Vilnius Women's Association, the Vilnius Women's House (ibid. 2002) and the Lithuanian Women's Society (OSI 25 Nov. - 10 Dec. 2002). Support agencies include women's crises centres and telephone lines available in the cities of Alytus, Sakiai, Vilkaviskis, Vilnius, Kedainiai, Raseiniai and Kaunas (UN 2002). The Vilnius Women's House and Crisis Center, for example, opened in 1996 and provides telephone counselling, legal, psychological and medical aid where necessary, and a temporary shelter for women and their children (Bridges July-Aug. 1998). In addition, the Vilnius Diocese Caritas Care Home for Mothers and Children and the Vilnius Shelter for Battered Mothers and Children provide temporary shelter to victims (UN 2002).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Bridges [Reston, CA]. July - August 1998. Vol. 22, No. 6. Ruta Aidis. "Domestic Violence Victims Find Hope At ... The Vilnius Women's House and Crisis Centre." (Lithuanian-American Community) [Accessed 17 Feb. 2003]

Open Society Institute (OSI) [Budapest]. 25 November - 10 December 2002. "16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence." [Accessed 17 Feb. 2003]

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). 24 May 2002. Alexandra Poolos. "East: Domestic Violence - An Unspoken Problem in Many Postcommunist Countries (Part I). [Accessed 14 Feb. 2003]

United Nations. December 2002. United Nations Development Program. Report on the Millennium Development Goals: A Baseline Study. Common Country Assessment for Lithuania. (United Nations in Lithuania) [Accessed 17 Feb. 2003]

_____. January-March 2002. UN Bulletins. No. 31. Jurgita Peèiûrienë. "Research Results on Violence Against Women." (United Nations in Lithuania) [Accessed 17 Feb. 2003]

_____. 2002. United Nations Development Fund for Women's Regional Public Awareness Campaign in CIS and Lithuania. "Lithuania." [Accessed 14 Feb. 2003]

Women's World [Vilnius]. 2 June 2002. "Violence Against Women: Victim Survey Report." (Women's Issues Information Centre Internet Bulletin) [Accessed 17 Feb. 2003]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

Consortium of Women's Non-Governmental Associations


Lithuanian Women's Information Portal

Lithuania's NGO Coalition for Women's Rights Protection

Network of East-West Women

Network Women's Program, Soros Foundation

Open Society Initiative - Lithuania


United Nations Human Development Reports (2000-2001)

United Nations in Lithuania

World Bank, Social Development in Europe and Central Asia Regions 2001

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

Search Refworld