Birth Registration: Citizenship can be acquired either by birth in the country or from one’s parents. The government registered all births promptly.
Child Abuse: NGOs noted that despite a multi-year effort to combat violence against children, many problems continued. In 2014, according to the latest information from the Department of Statistics, approximately 19,668 children lived in 9,930 “at-risk” families, including those experiencing substance abuse, unemployment, and other socioeconomic problems. The media frequently reported instances of cruelty to children, including sexual abuse, intentional starvation, and beating. The Department of Statistics registered 1,238 reports of violence against children in 2014. In the first eight months of the year, the Ministry of Interior received reports of two deaths of newborns from abuse. The children’s rights ombudsman reported receiving 197 complaints in the first eight months of the year.
The ombudsman for children’s rights reported that government efforts to combat child abuse and aid abused children were ineffective. In the first eight months of the year, Child Line (a hotline for children and youth) received 85,600 telephone calls and 1,105 letters from children, whose concerns ranged from relations with their parents and friends to family violence and sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse of children remained a problem despite prison sentences of up to 13 years for the crime. In the first eight months of the year, the Ministry of Interior recorded 38 cases of child rape and 145 cases involving other forms of child sexual abuse. The government operated a children’s support center to provide special care for children who suffered from violence, including sexual violence.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: Individuals involving a child in pornographic events or using a child in the production of pornographic material are subject to imprisonment for up to five years. According to the Ministry of Interior, officials opened two criminal cases involving child pornography during the first eight months of the year. During the same period, the Office of the Ombudsman for Children’s Rights reported that it initiated six investigations of sexual exploitation of children. No information was available about the number of persons convicted of sexually exploiting children. The age of consent is 16.
Displaced Children: Street children were widely scattered among the country’s cities. Most were runaways or from dysfunctional families. In the school year 2014-15, according to the most recent data from the National Department of Statistics, 14,785 children age seven to 16 did not attend school. According to data from the Ministry of Interior, there were 1,684 searches for missing children in 2014.
There were a number of free, government-sponsored programs to assist displace d children. Government bodies and numerous NGOs administered 60 agencies protecting children’s rights that routinely assisted vulnerable children.
Institutionalized Children: As of September 1, 3,562 orphans and other children in need of care resided in the country’s 95 orphanages, including 17 operated by NGOs and 52 large family foster homes. There were five boarding schools for children with disabilities. The children’s rights ombudsman received two complaints and started two investigations regarding children’s rights violations in these institutions in the first eight months of the year.
NGOs, child welfare experts, and psychologists contended that the country’s orphanages were detrimental to child development, leading to a wide range of social problems, such as delinquency, social exclusion, and vulnerability to trafficking and prostitution. On March 18, prosecutors announced an investigation into allegations that the director of the Viesvile Orphanage sexually exploited boys in his care. These allegations followed a January announcement that prosecutors were investigating the Sveksna School--a residential institution for children with special needs--for hosting a prostitution ring in which 15- to 17-year-old residents prostituted younger female residents.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For country-specific information see: travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/country/lithuania.html.