As usual, public debates on important laws and strategic documents are opened during the summer, and the Ministry of Youth and Sports "kept us busy" us by commenting on the new Strategy Proposal for Youth in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2023 to 2030. The Autonomous Women's Center submitted 19 proposals for amendments and supplements to goals and measures, the largest number in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights and one number in the area of gender-based violence. A third of the proposals were accepted (12 out of 19), and only one was rejected.
The increase in the number of reports of domestic violence events stopped, and the number of events in which the police assessed the risk decreased. The number of police orders was quite similar to the previous year, but there was a significant decrease in the issuance of both emergency measures and significantly fewer temporary eviction measures, probably as a result of fewer risk assessments.
As part of the commemoration of May 18 - the Day of Remembrance for Women Victims of Violence, the Autonomous Women's Center organized three forums entitled "Institutional proceedings in cases of high-risk (fatal) domestic violence reports".
The need to improve the provisions of the Criminal Code was observed, not only by civil society organizations, but also by the Government of the Republic of Serbia. To meet this need for changes, which are expected by the end of 2022, three members of the coalition prEUgovor, the Autonomous Women's Center (AWC), ASTRA – Anti-Trafficking Action and Transparency Serbia (TS), have prepared proposals for amendments – each in their field of work (crimes against sexual freedom, crimes against humanity and crimes with an element of corruption).
The reporting period, which lasted from November 2021 to April 2022, was marked by the referendum on constitutional amendments and the general elections with accompanying campaigns and a series of regulations that once again underwent last minute changes. Due to the lack of real dialogue in institutions and the media, in late 2021 citizens took to the streets in mass protests throughout Serbia. A significant initial step towards strengthening the independence of the judiciary was made by amending the Constitution, although the space for the influence of politics on this branch of government has not been completely eliminated.
Education about reproductive and sexual health and rights has not been organized systemically, shows the latest study of the Autonomous Women's Center "Systemic education postponed until further notice", which analyzes how much the Republic of Serbia respects international standards, domestic laws and policies regarding the education of children and young people about sexual and reproductive health within the framework of the formal education system.
As part of the discussion regarding the development of the Policy Action Plan for youth in AP Vojvodina 2022-2025, and at the initiative of the European Youth Center of Vojvodina, the AWC sent its comments in the field of digital violence towards and among young people.
The prEUgovor coalition has drawn up proposals for key reforms that the future executive and legislature should work on after the elections on April 3. In addition to the general principles for improving the existing state of the rule of law and democracy in Serbia, the members of the coalition highlight, each in their own field of expertise, what the key problems are in the field of combating corruption and organized crime, anti-discrimination policy, migration and asylum and human trafficking, as well as regional relations.
Gender-based violence, as you call it in the given opinion, is a recent term - and women's organizations, revealing the problem, talked about men's violence against women. The imbalance of physical, political, social and economic power between the sexes was the focus of this term. We believe that you will agree with the fact that the equalization of power between the sexes has not (yet) occurred, but that the term was first replaced by the term "gender-based violence against women" (the term used in the Council of Europe Convention), and then "gender-based violence". Women, who are predominantly victims of male violence and make up over 50% of the population, have become invisible through this terminological reduction, which takes us back many decades, to the very beginning of the feminist struggle for the visibility of male violence against women - the most widespread form of discrimination against women in society.
As part of the global campaign "16 Days of Activism in combating Male Violence Against Women", the Autonomous Women's Center pointed out the lack of social attention and expertise on the consequences of violence perpetrated by intimate partners in procedures for determining parental care of children, women and child victims on women and children, witnesses of such violence.