Thursday, August 13, 2020

AZC logo saopstenjaNot one project intended for support to women victims of violence оr victims of criminal acts in general received the support of the Ministry of Justice at their last open call for granting funds collected on the basis of deferred prosecution in February this year.

Funds granted through this open call were collected based on the implementation of the institute of deferred prosecution, which, among other things, encompasses the possibility of the payment of specific amount of funds for humanitarian purposes. Therefore, it would be expected that at least part of the funds is directed towards the improvement of the status and protection of victims of violence in Serbia (e.g. provision of free psychosocial or legal support to victims of violence, equipping rooms for interviewing victims to prevent contact with the perpetrator of violence and similar activities).  However, not one dinar, of the total of 500 million dinars in grants awarded, was intended for this category of citizens.

Not only are there no projects, of the total of 130 of those supported, regarding support to victims of violence, but there are less than 10 citizen’s associations receiving grants. The Ministry of Justice awarded half a million dinars each for projects involving the installation of basketball hoops in a school gym and placement of three mobile toilets, while over 16 million dinars were awarded for projects involving construction work on buildings of religious organizations. Most funds were awarded to public institutions in the field of health care, education and social welfare, for renovation, repairs and procurement of equipment.

Bering this in mind, the results of the open call show that the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs either do not plan budgetary funds in accordance with the needs of schools, health and social welfare institutions or the Ministry of Finance ignores these requests and allocates budgetary funds for other ministries and other needs.

This is the third year in a row that the Ministry of Justice did not support a single civil society organization specializing in providing support to women victims of domestic and intimate partner violence, though it promotes zero tolerance to violence against women and support to victims of criminal acts, and improvement of capacities of civil society organizations providing this type of support.

During this time, victims of criminal acts, who aren’t even asked for approval when public prosecutor’s offices make decisions about the implementation of the institute of deferred prosecution, don’t even have the satisfaction of having funds invested in the improvement of their status and the services provided to victims in Serbia.

The Autonomous Women’s Center’s proposal for the open call involved the provision of free legal support to women victims of domestic and intimate partner violence, a specialized service registered at the Ministry of Justice, provided for over fifteen years. During 2019, the Autonomous Women’s Center provided 2200 services of legal support for over 750 women.

The results of the open call can be viewed here.