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2020 / 10 / 05

Release of R. Uscila’s Scientific Article on the Assessment of Domestic Violence Against Persons with Disabilities

In the second issue of this year’s international periodical peer-reviewed journal of research papers “Pedagogika”, the article “Domestic Violence: The Situation Assessment on Crime Victims with Disabilities” by Dr. Rokas Uscila, researcher at the Law Institute of Lithuania, was published. The article contains an assessment of the national victimological situation of victims with disabilities who have suffered domestic violence in the last seven years and formulates recommendations on how to help and support for them in the most extensive way.

According to the author, the statistical analysis of the quantitative data of the selected period shows the opposing trends. Firstly, despite the fact that the number of people with disabilities in Lithuania has been steadily decreasing since 2015, and that the number of crime victims has also been decreasing annually since 2016 (to 20.26 % in three years), the number of disabled victims who have experienced crime is, on contrary, increasing rapidly (the number of persons with disabilities who have experienced victimisation increased by 34 % between 2017 and 2019). Another discrepancy arises when comparing the number of disabled persons in the population of Lithuania (8-9 % of the total population) with the number of victims (the number of disabled persons was only 1.83 % in 2019). Similar figures can also be found among the victims of domestic violence (on average, the number of disabled persons among the victims of all crimes of a similar nature is only 2.7 %), although according to the data of the Lithuanian Population Survey on Domestic Violence, conducted in 2019, persons with disabilities present distinctive social group which is most affected by domestic violence. In addition, international documents note a tendency to categorise people with disabilities as the most vulnerable people at the increased risk of victimisation. There is therefore a discrepancy between the data in official statistics and the trends mentioned in international documents or national surveys.

“The research carried out confirms the hypothesis that domestic violence against people with disabilities is extremely latent. First of all, it could be explained by the fact that the disabled victim, who lives in self-isolation and is physically and socially excluded from the environment, is dependent on the abuser; therefore, the given situation leads to the victim’s passivity, to his/her reluctance and/or inability to deal with the existing circumstances and to victim’s fear of ending relations with the abuser. Another aspect is that the statistics do not fully reflect the real situation of victimisation in relation to the psychological and sexual abuse of persons with disabilities, as it is highlighted in international documents and research papers,” claims researcher R. Uscila.

The researcher suggests that the Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania take an active leadership, aiming to ensure a package of basic services delivered to disabled victims and involve professionals and organisations with special knowledge and specialisations, which are able to provide help and support to persons with disabilities.

The full text of the scientific research is available here.

Visualisation of the Lithuanian Disability Forum (LDF).