Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Advocacy

Initial premise of the Autonomous Women's Center is that policies, in order to fight against violence against women, at the local and national level should be consistent with international standards and good practices in this field. In accordance with the strategic goals, that the Convention of the United Nations and the Council of Europe should be implemented well by the state and that in the process of joining the European Union we must respect the human rights of women, Autonomous Women's Center consistently monitors the implementation of and advocates for a comprehensive, coherent, relevant, specific, efficient and effective national policies against violence against women.

vanja macanovic sistemAfter a meeting of ministers and Prime Minister within the technical government, the systemic measures were announced against different types of violence faced by Serbian society – domestic violence, sexual offences, peer violence, hooliganism, etc. Although it is difficult to imagine that the “one package” of measures can solve all types of violence, which may have the same resources and similar manifestations, but make a specific problem, PM announced changes of the penal legislation and its harmonization with the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, the increase in the minimum penalties for offences of sexual violence, the new Law on Protection against Domestic Violence (i.e. organizational), the adoption of the Law on Free Legal Aid, specialization of experts and their better mutual cooperation.

Autonomous Women's Center considers that, although the proposed measures are necessary, they should not depend on the will of one man, since it does not reflect the effectiveness and accountability of the institutional system. In addition, it is necessary to provide a mandatory risk assessment of a repetition of violence and severe injury, which should be applied using a standard list by the police officers, public prosecutors and centres for social work, as well as the obligation to exchange this data within 24 hours. It would be important that in each case of a divorce and custody of juvenile children introduce mandatory testing of current or previous existence of violence and risk assessment on the occurrence or escalation of violence due to the separation of partners. Also, it is necessary to ensure the development of individual security plan in all cases of a high risk of recurrence of violence and serious injury.

Besides the mandatory specialization of professionals who would be in charge of cooperation and coordination, basic education on violence is also necessary for those who act to protect the victims, as well as the establishment of a system for determining individual accountability for the professional misconduct.

AWC press release is available in Serbian here.