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After a tragic incident of domestic violence that left two children dead in central Lithuania, the government is setting up a commission to look into what should have been done to prevent it.
Double family homicide prompts government to look into family programmes
© DELFI (R. Achmedovo nuotr.)

The tragedy took place in Saviečiai village, Kėdainiai District, on Saturday afternoon. Amid a domestic conflict with his partner, a father (36) drove the woman out of their house, then threw their 6-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son into a well. Both children died.

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Lithuanian Social Security and Labour Minister Algimanta Pabedinskienė is initiating a governmental commission to investigate the circumstances of the murder.

On Monday, the minister is sending her deputy Algirdas Šešelgis to Kėdainiai where he will meet with the municipality's representatives, child welfare specialists, and local police officers to discuss why the appalling crime had not been prevented.

Minister Pabedinskienė believes one reason for the tragedy is the failure of the state to come up with a comprehensive integrated family education programme. The country's social security system mainly deals with consequences of domestic violence, failing to address its underlying roots, she said.

"We saw this problem and have worked out a solution: this year, some of the municipalities (the remaining will follow suit next year) will open communal family centres providing various services for families (pedagogical, psychological, etc.). This will require over €21 million," the minister said.

After meeting with officials on Monday, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė urged to establish an institution which would be responsible for assisting families deemed to be at social risk. Better inter-institutional coordination could prevent similar tragedies, she said.

"There are numerous tasks to be accomplished at all levels - parliamentary, governmental, and ministerial. We once again state that there is funding, there are laws in place; however, what is missing is inter-agency coordination, a common approach. In this case, I believe, there should be established a Children's Rights Protection Inspectorate which would help local governments, provide methodological assistance and ensure coordination," the president said.

According to Grybauskaitė, the first task is to shape a legal framework which would ensure all necessary services to families at risk and for the Seimas to adopt a law on the basics of children's rights protection as soon as possible.

Currently, there are about 10,000 families at social risk in Lithuania, raising about 3.7 percent of all children.

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