On June 2, 2023, the Republic of Serbia received Conclusions on the implementation of the recommendations sent by the Committee of Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (IC—CP/Inf (2023)11).
In addition to praise for formal aspects, such as the adoption of the Strategy on the prevention of gender-based violence and domestic violence (although this document has no Action Plan for the third successive year), the full institutionalization of the Coordinating Body for Gender Equality, the establishment of the Council for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, the possibility to use the budgetary financial support to small projects of civil society organizations (although these will mostly be governmental and fictitious organizations), steps by the Ministry of Justice to collect data on domestic violence including the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator (which they stopped doing as of April 2022), as well as two surveys of the Republic Institute of Statistics (funded by the EU), encourages the country to take additional measures to implement the recommendations of this body, in particular:
— to ensure independent monitoring and evaluation of the effects of policies and measures for the prevention and combating violence against women;
— to provide human and financial resources at the state and local level for the implementation of policies, measures and laws in the area, as well as to provide stable funds for women's NGOs that support victims of violence against women;
— to ensure that all competent sectors collect at regular intervals data disaggregated, at a minimum, by gender, age, type of violence, type of relationship between victim and perpetrator, age of victim and place where violence occurs, so that the prevalence of violence and the experience of women can provide information in creating policies;
— to establish crisis centers for victims of rape and/or sexual violence that offer free support services and expert forensic examinations of victims;
— to ensure the safety of children witnessing domestic violence by improving their access to support services, including long-term psychological support, and enabling them to stay with a non-abusing parent, preferably in their own home;
— to ensure that courts are obliged to take into account the harmful effects of children witnessing domestic violence when making decisions on child custody and visitation patterns, and to support the safety and well-being of children in the exercise of parental rights and responsibilities;
— to amend the definitions of rape and sexual violence in order to align them with Art. 36 of the Council of Europe Convention on the prevention of violence against women and domestic violence.
The Committee calls on the State of Serbia to submit a new report by June 2, 2025, as well as to continue taking measures from the Convention, especially based on the GREVIO report.
The conclusions on the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee of the Parties of the Council of Europe can be seen HERE.
The state report submitted to the Committee can be seen HERE.
The alternative report of the Autonomous Women's Center can be seen HERE.