Lithuanian Parliament Acknowledges the Problem of Homophobic Bullying and Points to the Lack of Data

International data show that every third pupil in Lithuania falls victim to bullying. This issue was discussed on the 7th of September 2022 at the Conference of the Parliament’s Human Rights Committee. However, since surveys on the bullying issue are not conducted in schools, and therefore, the need for the according data is not met, prevention work will continue to look better on paper than in reality, said the Chairman of the Lithuanian Human Rights Committee Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius.

Raskevičius announced the plan to initiate the conduction of surveys on bullying and violence in the schools of Vilnius in the near future.

Meanwhile, the leader of Lithuania’s Children’s Helpline suggested that, in order to fight the bullying problem, closing schools would be the most effective solution at the moment.

Against the backdrop of the aforementioned statement made by the Chairman of the Lithuanian Human Rights Committee it should be mentioned that the National LGBT Rights Organization LGL has been actively drawing attention, collecting data and working on the bullying problem since 2014, with LGL organizing an international conference “Tackling Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying: Challenges and Effective Responses”.

Based on questionnaires that were sent to teachers and students at Lithuanian schools, LGL also released a survey report in 2015 that revealed the common occurrence of bullying in schools based on sexual orientation and included recommendations on bullying prevention.

In Summer 2017, LGL carried out an anonymous survey in which respondents –  644 LGBT high school students between the ages of 14 and 18 – elaborated on what LGBT adolescents face in Lithuanian school settings. LGL’s survey showed that half of LGBT young people feel unsafe in Lithuanian schools because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Since 2018 LGL implemented 3 projects aiming to better understand the situation of LGBT students and raise awareness on the negative effects of homophobic bullying, namely: “CHOICE: Promoting School Environments Inclusive of Diversity based on SOGI”, “DIVERSITY-CHILDHOOD: Changing social attitudes towards gender diversity in children across Europe” and “Anti-bullying Alliance: Building a support network to counter homophobic bullying at schools”.

On 1st September, 2020 the National LGBT rights organization LGL launched an emotional support platform for LGBT students who face bullying. The platform is also useful for teachers and parents.

Furthermore, currently LGL is implementing two different projects that aim to prevent bullying at schools, namely – “Nothing about us without us: empowering LGBT youth in the fight against bullying” and – “Colorful Childhoods. Empowering LGBTIQ children in vulnerable contexts to combat gender-based violence across Europe”, both of which will gather data on bullying in Lithuanian schools.