D.P. v Lithuania – domestic violence

2013 / 10 / 22 Tags: , ,

 „I hope this decision will assist others in the future, maybe victims will not be afraid to complain, and aggressors will be less violent. I worry about the kids  – they suffer the most in violent families and it affects their future lives tremendously.“

– D.P., applicant in the case

Proceedings initiated: 2007

Proceedings closed: 2013

Case in brief: the applicant suffered her spouse’s violence for over eight years, but all the investigations into domestic abuse were discontinued

Outcome of the case: by failing to protect the applicant and her children from domestic violence, Lithuanian law enforcement authorities violated Article 3 of the ECHR (prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment)

Facts of the case:

The applicant D.P. and her four children suffered the violence and terror of applicant‘s former husband, kids‘ father, for longer than ten years. Neither law-enforcement institutions nor courts were capable to stop the aggressor despite repetitive applicant’s complains since 1999.

The court proceedings lasted until 2007 but the aggressor did not receive any punishment as the proceedings became time-barred. The children of the applicant had developed post-traumatic stress disorder or a continuous depressive reaction.

The oldest applicant‘s son R.P., after suffering all his life from his father‘s terror, was diagnosed with a depression and took his own life in 2009.

Legal proceedings:

On 23 May 2008, the applicant addressed the European Court of Human Rights regarding the violation of Article 6 (right to fair trial) of the European Human Rights Convention.

After the case was communicated to the Government, Human Rights Monitoring Institute intervened as amicus curiae. In its observations, HRMI argued that Lithuania by failing to protect the applicant and her three children from repeated physical and psychological violence and by procrastinating in the criminal proceedings, violated Article 3 as well as Article 8 of the Convention.

On 22 October 2013, after Lithuania Government acknowledged in its unilateral declaration that the applicant had not been ensured effective protection guaranteed by Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, and offered a just satisfaction of Eur 6000 to the applicant, the Court decided to strike the case out of its list.

Documents of the case:

Third-party observations submitted by the Human Rights Monitoring Institute

European Court of Human Rights judgment