Statistical Survey on Population Security – focus on the problem of violence in the country

On 17 June, results of the Statistical Survey on Population Security were presented at Statistics Lithuania: data obtained have revealed an unpleasant and unpalatable truth – more than 250 thousand women aged 18–74 and almost 200 thousand men have experienced physical (including threats) or sexual abuse.

This is the first time that Statistics Lithuania has conducted such a particular survey. A random sample of 10 thousand people was selected for the statistical sample. About 5.5 thousand people were interviewed. “It was very difficult for the interviewers to carry out this survey. First of all, there is no public acceptance of speaking openly about violence, in which case respondents were asked to tell the person they met for the first time about their painful experiences. Perceptions of violence are rather superficial. Unfortunately, part of our society does not classify violence as insults, threats, pushing, etc. This is a very sensitive topic that requires special psychological preparation. It was an extremely tough task to ask people about the violence they experienced, especially sexual violence, and for this reason special training was provided to the interviewers, led by an expert – psychotherapist, having experience of working with people who have suffered violence,” noted Sigita Mačiuikienė, Leader of the Statistical Survey on Population Security, Adviser of the Social Protection, Health, Education and Culture Statistics Division. Throughout the survey, interviewers had the opportunity to consult a psychotherapist over the phone about issues that arose during the interviews. According to S. Mačiuikienė, after the survey was accomplished, the understanding of violence among both the specialists and the interviewers involved in this important work has dramatically changed: everyone started to have a deeper understanding of what violence is and how topical this problem is in our society.

Although the recent survey has shown that our people are aware of the possibility of contacting various institutions for the violence they experience, the majority of those who have experienced told their relatives about it, but avoided contact appropriate authorities. "There were several cases when people included in the survey sample had initially refused to talk about it, and subsequently changed their minds. When the survey was finished such person was grateful – our interviewer was the first person he (she) dared to talk about these horrifying cases,” marked Daiva Marcinkevičienė, Head of the Social Security, Health, Education and Culture Statistics Division of Statistics Lithuania.

Giedrė Purvaneckienė, Doctor of Social Sciences, Associate Professor and Gender Equality Expert, emphasized that the results of the survey were highly anticipated. "What we see in the police summary is just the tip of the iceberg. It is therefore particularly important for all institutions and organizations working to combat widespread violence to have some data on the extent of the prevalence of violence and to know which population groups are the most vulnerable. Only on the basis of statistics we can raise this problem in public,” emphasized G. Purvaneckienė at the meeting.

Jurgita Pečiūrienė, a volunteer at the Women's Information Center, noticed that according to the data, the already known truth has been confirmed – home is the most unsafe and least stable place for women, and street – for men. The absolute majority (88.2 per cent) of victims of intimate partner violence are women, and more than half (56.7 per cent) of those who have experienced non-partner violence are men.

The survey has also revealed problems that are very little talked about in our society. Even 10 per cent of women who experienced intimate partner violence were physically injured, 6 per cent of women felt threat to their lives. Only 9 per cent of women who had experienced non-partner violence contacted the police. 19 per cent of women and 7 per cent of men have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

Such survey is being conducted in 19 European countries, and therefore the results obtained will be comparable.


The survey is part-financed by the European Union.