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.
During the reporting period - from May to October 2021 - the implementation of formal activities in certain areas of Cluster 1 continued at an accelerated pace, especially in connection with the constitutional changes in the field of judiciary. These activities are mostly of a normative character, representing only the initial step towards the desired social change, and are still lacking tangible results. The activities are also mostly late and are compensating for the processes that should have been completed a few years back. As part of the civil society, Coalition prEUgovor is still not satisfied with the quality of the process of drafting laws, strategies and policies, or the resulting solutions.
The Autonomous Women’s Center’s analysis “Social Housing Policies - Possibilities for women who have survived violence, and how they can realize their rights”, was presented to the public on October 8th in Belgrade, at an activist meeting attended by representatives of women’s associations from Uzice, Nis, Kragujevac, Krusevac, Novi Becej, Leskovac, Common Action for “The Roof Over Our Heads” from Novi Sad, The Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, as well as the Coordination Body for Gender Equality.
A series of investigative texts by journalist Jelena Jindra entitled The System for the Protection or Abuse of Children? published from July to September 2021 on the portal of H-Alter (Association for Independent Media Culture) from Zagreb, drew great and attention and caused a lot of controversies among the general and professional public about the scientifically unfounded notion of "parental alienation". This term, which in Croatia, but also in the whole world, is very popular among experts for the protection of children in the health, judicial and social protection system, has also been propagated in Serbia in recent years by prof. Dr Gordana Buljan Flander, through "educational sessions on alienation" which she held not only in Serbia, but also in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.
For the ninth time, the Autonomous Women's Center presents a report on independent monitoring of the implementation of the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence in Serbia for the period January-December 2020, which also contains comparative data from the previous year. There are still no consolidated, publicly available, official reports on the application of the Law, and the lack of a central electronic record on the application of the Law makes it difficult to monitor it comprehensively and fosters inconsistent and incomparable data from different sources. The ninth independent report was prepared by Tanja Ignjatović.
The Autonomous Women's Center, ASTRA and Group 484, as members of the prEUgovor Coalition, submitted to the National Assembly, and before that to the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality, as well as to the Committee on European Integration, amendments to the disputable solutions contained in Draft Law on Gender Equality and to the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, which appeared after the public debate. Both laws were adopted without amending the bill in the way the Coalition prEUgovor suggested.
The period from November 2020 to April 2021 was marked by the accelerated activity of the newly formed Government and Parliament to compensate for a year that Serbia lost on its path to European integration. However, monitoring that was conducted by the prEUgovor coalition in the past six months infers that these renewed efforts are rather a continuation of the former checking-the-box approach, which so far has failed to achieve convincing results in monitored areas, namely political criteria and Chapters 23 and 24. Although the declarative commitment to Serbia’s EU path remains unchanged (albeit now and then interrupted by outbursts of anti-EU rhetoric), the coalition is still not convinced that there is in fact political will to bring about substantial reforms.
BeFem Talks "Istanbul Convention: the view of activists from the region" is the introduction to the new campaign "Equality from the drawer: For policies of non-violence!", bringing together again women's rights defenders from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Northern Macedonia, which have been to this day the bravest part of our societies.
Autonomous Women’s Center continued to independently monitor the implementation of the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence. The eighth report covers the activities of the police and prosecutor’s offices in 2019, based on data obtained monthly from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office. In addition, this report includes data from the annual reports on the work of centers for social work in Serbia (for 2018, since the report for 2019 is not yet publicly available). Moreover, although it is 2020, the data are provided on the actions of state bodies in the period March-May, i.e. during the SARS-CoV 2 epidemic and the state of emergency.
Today, in the Media Center, the first baseline report on the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence in Serbia has been presented. Although GREVIO welcomes the state’s commitment to eliminating gender-based violence against women, as well as legislative changes taken in this direction, there are a number of areas that need urgent response and improvement, such as a small number of underfunded specialized services for women with experience of violence, mainly provided by NGOs. The urgency of establishing a consultative dialogue with women’s organizations is also emphasized, as well as the need to ensure adequate and long-term financing for the specialized services they provide.
Autonomous Women’s Center, which has submitted the alternative report on the implementation of the Convention to the GREVIO Group, is satisfied with the largest number of presented findings and recommendations. It remains to be seen whether and how many recommendations will be included in the new strategic document on preventing violence against women.
In order to monitor the measurable effects of the reforms in the European integration process of the Republic of Serbia, members of the prEUgovor coalition drafted the second edition of the Institutional Barometer, which analyzes the work of six selected institutions with the competences in the areas of Chapter 23 (Justice and Fundamental Rights) and Chapter 24 (Justice, Freedom and Security). Autonomous Women’s Center applied the created methodology to the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality.