debata o nasilju 01

May 21, 2018 - Belgrade – Are the existing international conventions and treaties implemented by governments sufficient to protect women and girls from violence in the family and partner relations? What has been achieved and what are the key gaps and challenges in the policy implementations? These were the main issues discussed at the National Debate „Violence against Women in Serbia: Between Commitments and Reality - Do we need a strategic approach to the issue“. 

debata o nasilju 02

As a speaker of the session focusing on commitments of the Republic of Serbia in the field of the elimination of violence against women and the reality of their implementation, AWC representative Tanja Ignjatović stated that there is a lack of coordination of inter-sectorial strategies, lack of budgetary funding and effective monitoring of implementation of measures and laws in this field.  She especially pointed out the difference in the understanding of the phenomenon of violence against women, the needs and rights of survivors, by institutions and by civil society organizations, which is confirmed by the fact that survivors do not participate in meetings of coordination and cooperation groups at which individual protection and support plans for survivors are developed, and that urgent measures are issued for both the perpetrator and survivor. She added that the previous national strategy on the elimination of violence, implemented with donor funds and coordinated by UN bodies, shows that inter-sectorial strategies do not have a future. She indicated that measures envisaged in national strategic documents are not obligatory for responsible institutions, and, as an example, mentioned the attempt of the establishment of a national helpline contrary to plans defined in the Action Plan on the implementation of the National Gender Equality Strategy.

debata o nasilju 03The representative of the “Women against Violence” Network, Vedrana Lacmanović, stated that the years-long experience in monitoring and analyzing femicide cases, has shown that survivors had sought support from responsible institutions in nearly every third case, but they either did not react or the response was inadequate. She added that media reports, as a source of information on femicide cases, did not present a complete picture on the scope of the phenomenon, as not all cases are reported on. This is why, she stated, it is necessary to establish a body for monitoring femicide cases, comprised of all relevant stakeholders, with the aim of analyzing all cases of femicide, in order to contribute to better risk assesment and prevention of future cases. She concluded that though media reporting on femicide is still inappropriate, the responsibility of media is not the same as the responsibility of institution that obliged to protect women from violence.

The issue of access to protection mechanisms, providing better assistance and protection to women survivors of violence from vulnerable groups, was also discussed. The debate was organized within the joint project “Integrated response to violence against women and girls in Serbia II” implemented by UN and government agencies with the support of the Government of Sweden.