The Economic Costs Of Violence For Lithuania: Factors, Consequences, Prevention

Ona Gražina Rakauskienė, Vaida Lisauskaitë

Abstract


The problem of violence receives a lot of attention in Lithuania as well as in other countries. Scientific research data suggests that, while the crime rate is rapidly growing, violence against women in Lithuania (just like in other countries of the world) gains the largest comparative weight. Domestic violence has especially high rate in all social classes – from the poorest to the wealthiest. In view of the above said, Lithuania faces one problem that has to be dealt with urgently – how to estimate violence against women and children. Studies are conducted into reasons of violence, circumstances and mechanisms, measures are taken to develop preventive activity, ensure protection of victims of violence and their reintegration; however, we still lack data on the effects of violence on victims, households, general public and public sector (i.e. state and municipalities), and the state traditionally still fights against the consequences of violence instead of concentrating on preventive work. The outcome of such practice is negative – huge expenses incurred while fighting against the consequences of violence bring meager effects: the crime rate in Lithuania is growing, trafficking in persons is becoming more common, the population’s health and demographic indicators are getting worse year by year. Moreover, violence reduces work efficiency, impairs quality of human resources, provokes such a phenomenon as women and children’s absenteeism due to health problems, etc. All this, first of all, incurs huge expenses for the state and, secondly, has a negative effect on the population’s standard of living and economic growth of the state. Comparative analysis of estimated costs of assistance to women who seek help in institutions of social care and those of supporting prisoners sentenced for violence shows that costs of fighting with the consequences of criminal acts at present in Lithuania significantly exceed the expenditure from the state budget allocated for crime prevention. In view of the above said, it is important to get acquainted with other countries’ practice in this field and get aware of the real situation regarding violence against women and children in Lithuania; also, to compare state means allocated to fight against the consequences of violence and to its prevention and make relevant conclusions. In order to successfully deal with the problem of violence it is necessary to create an efficient model of fight against violence in Lithuania, which should be based on estimated costs of violence in Lithuania and aimed at the implementation of a system of preventive measures rather than fight against the consequences of violence. To get aware of the costs of violence incurred by the state, the researchers suggest employing such system of violence formation that would serve as a methodological grounding for further assessment of costs of violence. The suggested system of violence formation includes three levels: the first level – reasons of and factors encouraging violence; the second level – reflects emerging kinds and forms of violence in certain fields of social and economic activity; the third level – consequences of violence faced by the family, public and state. With a view to tightening control of criminal acts and minimizing psychological and economic consequences of violence, three major directions can be distinguished: – improving legislation, more effective use of sanctions against criminals, initiation of organizational changes in law application – restructuring law institutions; – preparing competent specialists for fighting against crimes, improving relations between officials and general public, ensuring public trust in law enforcement specialists; – encouraging early prevention, implementation of preventive measures at all levels (state, municipality, law enforcement institutions, organizations, enterprises, educational establishments, family, household).

Keywords


violence against women; physical; sexual violence; emotional and psychological abuse; economic violence; trafficking in persons; costs of violence; violence prevention; model of fight against violence

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"Public Policy and Administration" ISSN online 2029-2872 / ISSN print 1648-2603