This accident concerns all of us - we are looking for urgent proposals for necessary measures that would really contribute to improving the quality of life of extremely poor families with children.
Belgrade, October 8, 2021 – On the occasion of the tragic accident in Obrenovac in which two girls were killed and information from the media that the prosecution is investigating the criminal responsibility of the mother, we warn the authorities that it is extremely unacceptable and worrying that the burden of responsibility for child safety appropriate systemic support, be transferred (exclusively) to the mother of these children, who has the least power and who is in a situation to "choose between two evils" - to let her children go hungry or to leave them alone in the apartment at a time when neither the kindergarten nor the school are open, and when she must go to the factory to avoid dismissal.
It is especially cruel to do that at a time when this woman is facing such a terrible loss, as the death of two daughters. We remind you that this is not the first case in which poor single mothers’ children of preschool and early school age die. This indicates the absence of systemic support for families and children, which exceeds the minimum material assistance, and primarily concerns the issues of housing, employment and systemic care for children while their mothers are at work.
The Autonomous Women's Centre called on the Ministry of Family Care and Demography, which is responsible for "planning and improving the family, children and quality of life", to supervise the professional work of the competent guardianship authority regarding the plan for monitoring and supporting this family. We demand that the public be informed about whether the legally prescribed procedure, professional standards of work were provided in this case, and that appropriate measures were taken to protect and support mothers with minor children.
We appeal to the competent Ministry, together with the Ministry in charge of social protection, drawing from the lessons of this and previous cases in which minor children of poor single mothers died, to make a binding instruction for all professionals in the guardianship authority on dealing with complex situations requiring protection and support to families and children. We demand that both ministries urgently propose the necessary measures that would really contribute to improving the quality of life of extremely poor families with children and to protecting the best interests of the child.
We also appeal to the media to report on the victims and survivors in this case with due care, to avoid presenting personal and particularly sensitive personal data that could indirectly stigmatize the victims and the surviving girl, as well as their mother. We call on media associations and regulatory bodies to consistently respond to violations of the rules of ethical media reporting.
The address of the AWC to the competent Ministry and the Protector of Citizens is available HERE.
Contact person on behalf of the Autonomous Women's Centre:
Contact phone: 011.26.78.190