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The Autonomous Women’s Center marked May 18 – Day of Remembrance for Women Victims of Violence with a campaign titled “Hatred creates violence“ on social networks and with a press conference organized in cooperation with other women’s organizations.

Let’s believe women when they tell us about and report violence. This is the first condition that we as a society and institutions need to meet to stop male violence and the murdering of women, is the message   of activists of women’s organizations dedicated to decreasing male violence towards women and femicide (murders of women because they are women) on May 18 – Day of Remembrance of Women Victims of Violence.

Data on Femicide in Serbia

From the beginning of the year, 8 women have been killed by their partner, husband, son and grandson.  In two of 8 cases, violence had been reported to institutions, based on media reports. Based on data of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia, over 320 women have been killed in the last 10 years by their partner and family members. Data of the Women against violence Network on murders motivated by hatred towards women show that the murders are most frequently committed by husbands and partners, that in most cases murders are committed with a firearm of knife. As a consequence of these murders in the past 8 years, over 400 children were left without a mother.

Data of the Women against violence Network on murders of women in Serbia, based on information from media reports:











No. of murders










Every third murdered woman had turned to an institution looking for help.[1] Systematic errors of responsible institutions have been identified by the Republic Ombudsman in reports published in 2016.  and 2018.[2]

Steps taken by institutions in cases of reported violence

The experience of women’s organizations is similar to errors identified by the Republic Ombudsman, which include institution employees failing to:

  1. Forward information on reports of violence to other institutions responsible for providing protection to women and children.
  2. Initiative criminal proceedings or request the issuance of protection measures when women reject to submit a report, even when they possess evidence of physical violence towards a woman or children.
  3. Check in all cases of reported violence whether the perpetrator possesses a weapon.
  4. Asses the risk of violence to women or they do it inappropriately.
  5. Treat children as victims of violence and take necessary protection measures, through children who witness violence towards their mother are also victims of violence.
  6. Make a plan of services and protection and support measures for victims of violence.
  7. Treat the end of a relationship as a factor for escalation of violence, through leaving a perpetrator is a factor or risk for the violence to be repeated or intensify towards the victim.
  8. Understand the severity of violence, naming it a “mutual argument”, „disturbed interpersonal relations”, „disturbed family relations“, „verbal argument“. Instead, they follow their personal impressions, attitudes and prejudice, disregarding data from professional conduct and procedural rules, calling the perpetrator “A quiet guy who cares about his wife and family”, while questioning the report made by the victim of the violence. Justification of the perpetrators and victim blaming is still a practice of employees in institutions.

These are just some of the examples indicated in the report of the Republic Ombudsman published in 2018, based on institutional measures in 20 cases of violence against women and children, a number of which ended in femicide. The errors identified in 2018 are identical to those recognized by the Republic Ombudsman in 2016, which is cause for concern and shows there is no progress in professionals’ steps in the past 4 years. No progress has been made in efforts to continuously decreasing the number of femicides in Serbia, which can be linked with institutions making the same errors in protecting women from violence.

Femicide and human trafficking – Women victims of trafficking, survivors of long-term abuse, are exposed to a high risk of femicide. The consequences of torture women victims of trafficking suffer include complete degradation of personality, freedom and integrity, the victim stops feeling and no longer experiences herself as a person. The horrors and threat of loss of identity that victims experience is defined in expert literature as “mental death”. Atina NGO calls for special attention to be paid to women refugees and migrant women in Serbia who are exposed to the phenomenon of honor killings, which is hidden behind “cultural heritage” and a traditional understanding of women’s roles.

Hatred towards women in public – Society, community, the environment can contribute to the decrease of violence, but they can also support it through spreading of hatred towards women, through social networks, sensationalist media reporting, messages by prominent members in public. The roots of violence against women lie in hatred towards women. As a response, the Autonomous Women’s Center shared on social networks the video titled “Hatred creates violence” (FB page of the Autonomous Women’s Center).

[1] Mreža ŽPN: Femicid u Srbiji

[2] Zaštita žena od nasilja u porodici i partnerskim odnosima IZABRANE PREPORUKE ZAŠTITNIKA GRAĐANA
Ombudsman: Utvrđeni propusti u radu nadležnih u oblasti zaštite žrtava u slučajevima porodičnog i partnerskog nasilja