At the second session of the Council for the Suppression of Domestic Violence, the results of the one-year implementation of the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence were discussed. Minister of Justice, Nela Kuburović, presented numerical indicators on the application of the Law, stating that the increase in the number of reports of violence confirms that the victims are encouraged to seek institutional protection and support, but that there is a need for further improvement of treatment, especially in relation to cases of murder of women and others family members.
Representatives of competent ministries and bodies reported about the implementation of the Law from their perspective. Most of them emphasized the need for further training, including an increase in the number of professionals.
At the session of the Council, the Autonomous Women's Center participated as an observer, with the opportunity to present its experiences. Tanja Ignjatovic reported that the AWC monitors the implementation of the Law, and that the reports are regularly delivered to the Council; emphasizing that the numbers encourage, but that in the next phase special attention should be focused on qualitative data. She highlighted the need to consider who are urgent orders issued against (whether there are, and if so, how many ‘parallel’ measures are imposed to both the perpetrator and the victim, for which there should be no justification), whether the preventive protection includes children, and whether the measures are appropriate for the victims from marginalised and isolated social groups (Roma women, women with disabilities, rural women, women with psychiatric problems, and others)..
It was also pointed out that the numbers cannot provide us with any conclusions about the quality of the risk assessment, especially about recognising life-threatening violence, and that there is no long-term preventive protection (i.e. protection measures from the Family Law), due to the nature of the information collected there is no data on criminal code protection. Moreover, the numbers indicate that individual plans are not made for each case of violence, and that there is no information on the content of the plans, nor whether the planned and undertaken measures achieve the effects envisaged by the Law.
It was especially emphasized that victims were not invited to participate in the meetings where their protection and support is planned (not more than 1-1.5% of cases), and that their proposals for participation is rejected, which is contrary to the legal norm. It was also pointed out that specialized women's organizations are not invited to meetings, and many of their proposals for participation are being rejected; although this is once again not in the victim's interest. Finally, Tanja Ignjatovic emphasised that each system is in charge of acting, that there should be an internal operational mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the Law, however, it is apparent that "external" control only is insufficient (AWC's experiences were stated). She confirmed that the system should provide continuous and concrete professional support for immediate executives because they take part in the assessment and decision-making of complex phenomena in the short term, which requires high professionalism and professional accountability, causing high professional stress. The meeting was concluded with proposals to provide more complete data on victims in the upcoming period. The Council will submit a report to the Government on the one-year implementation of the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence.