Friday, September 20, 2019

The AWC has prepared the first independent report on the activities of the newly formed National SOS Helpline for women with experience of violence, for the period January-June 2019. The report indicates that the number of received calls in the observed period is twice less than the number displayed by the newly formed SOS Helpline, and amounts to 934 calls (155.7 calls on average per month). The other 861 calls, made up of "test" calls, should not be counted and displayed because they do not originate from callers.

Although the newly formed National SOS Helpline is available 24/7, it receives only a fifth of calls made annually by women with experience of violence in Serbia, and provides seven times less services than the number of services provided by women organization’s SOS Helplines. The number of services provided by women’s NGOs is higher, but they are available in the less amount of hours and mostly on weekdays due to lack of funding. This, without a doubt, justifies not only the existence, but also the state financing of the work of women's SOS Helplines in Serbia, which is not the case.

The first independent report also briefly outlines the way in which the new National SOS Helpline was established within the existing social welfare institution - the Infant, Child and Youth Care Center, despite the fact that there were already six licensed providers of this service in the non-governmental sector before. Comparable data indicate that there was no need to create a new National SOS Helpline within a social welfare institution that had no prior experience in providing this service, and to the need for the existence and state funding of women's SOS Helplines within the Women against Violence Network, which is currently not the case.

Although the Minister announced that this service would be "intelligent" and would "learn from daily experience" when opening the newly created National SOS Helpline, this was obviously not the case, and for start, electronic records should be developed, so that the provider could keep up-to-date and accurate information and regularly report to the public.

The first independent report on the activities of the newly formed National SOS Helpline for women with experience of violence is available in Serbian language on this link.