At the invitation of the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences, to submit a report on cases of child abuse, violence against women and violence against children, the Autonomous Women's Center prepared a report on the quasi-scientific concept of "alienation from parents" and its use in education of experts, in the practice of social and child protection, as well as in court practice in Serbia.
The reporting period - from May to October 2022 - Serbia spent with the Government in a technical mandate. The formation of the Government that should act as an engine of European integration waited until the deadline, even though the parliamentary majority was clear and the international and domestic circumstances demanded decisive action. Most of the reform activities in Cluster 1 have therefore been put on hold, starting with the drafting and adoption of regulations. Serbia is still far from achieving visible results in the areas monitored by the prEUgovor coalition.
Women's civil society organizations to organize a new, special session of the Committee for Education, Science, Technological Development and Information Society of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. They point out that public education is the interest of the whole society and therefore the gross abuse of authority, as well as science and profession, in connection with changing the content of the biology textbook for the eighth grade of elementary school cannot depend on the decision of the Minister, nor on the initiative of the Church in a secular state.
Several women's organizations demanded from the Institute for the Improvement of Education and Training (ZUOV) to deliver to them and publicly publish the opinion of the Working Group, which was formed at the request of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development in order to determine the alleged shortcomings of the biology textbook for the eighth grade of elementary school.
The Autonomous Women's Center, as an organization, and many of its members individually, supported the Press Release regarding the decision of the Ministry of Education on the "controversial" biology textbooks. We hope for a response from the authorities, as well as for the public to find out what the arguments of the working group at the Institute for the Advancement of Education are, which supported the content changes in the already approved biology textbooks for the eighth grade of elementary school, despite the declaration of the biological scientific community about the adequacy of their content.
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.