Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia (MODS) and the Women Against Violence Network sent a letter to the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans' and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Internal Affairs Recommendations for improving systemic measures in the area of prevention and protection against domestic violence.

They were presented to the public at a press conference in the Media Center, and the immediate reason for the drafting of these recommendations were the cases where two women and one child were killed in the Centers for Social Work in July.

"A child who is present in the cases of domestic violence should be considered a direct victim of violence. When there is a report on domestic violence, it is necessary to urgently assess the risk for the child's safety and to provide protection to the child through support to a nonviolent parent. Key recommendations have been sent to state institutions and we expect their prompt reaction," said MODS director Saša Stefanović.

"Representatives of institutions, in particular the Center for Social Work and the Court, need to improve their knowledge of the connection between violence against women and the abuse of children, as a way of controlling women. Even when a child wants to get in touch with a violent father, they are obliged to assess whether it is in the best interest of the child," said Program Coordinator of the Autonomous Women's Center, Tanja Ignjatović.

In order to improve the systemic response to cases of domestic violence, the following six recommendations were proposed:

  • a child who is present in cases of domestic violence is identified as a direct victim of violence and ensures his or her safety through the support of a nonviolent parent;
  • the presence of a child in cases of domestic violence is considered a risk to his or her safety and the basis for urgent action;
  • anticipate and implement special protection and support measures for children who are present in cases of domestic violence, including protection and support for non-violent parents;
  • develop guidelines for assessing and determining the best interests of the child during professional work in the field of family and legal protection, taking into account that the right of the child to maintain personal relationships with his or her parent should be considered in the context of the violence the parent makes to the child and/or to the other parent and the right of the child and the non-violent parent to be protected from all forms of mental and physical violence;
  • establish specialized organizational units for family and legal protection, including protection against domestic violence in centers for social work;
  • improve the monitoring of the implementation of measures to protect against domestic violence and cooperation between institutions in each individual case, in accordance with the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and the individual plan for the protection and support of the victim.

You can find the complete text and complete Recommendations for improving systemic measures in the area of prevention and protection against domestic violence in Serbian HERE.

Photo: Press Conference, July 25th, Media Center Belgrade

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