Friday, June 26, 2009

Gender Equality & Protection of Women Against Violence

(June 18 2009, Belgrade)
By Slobodan Andjelkovic
The Serbian Parliament’s Committee for gender equality appealed Wednesday for adoption of “legal framework” for protection of women against violence, stressing that 6% of women-victims consider themselves as main cause of domestic violence. Committee’s Chairperson Mrs. Gordana Paunovic-Milosavljevic recalled that UN has initiated all member countries should adopt a law on gender equality as well as law on women and child protection against violence.
Government of Serbia passed in May 2009 the draft law dealing with gender equality, but the document is still in parliament’s procedure.
Only 12, 9 % of male-suspects for domestic violence in Serbia are ever sentenced, mostly to four years of probation, according to unofficial data released by NGOs. Same sources say not a single court in Serbia ordered protective measures for children that also were victims of the violence.
Members of the Committee agreed to establish a commission, which would in one-month time, together with parliament’s Health and Family Committee, produce a draft Declaration on Elimination Violence against Women and Children and will send it for adoption to the Parliament.
In Serbia domestic violence is not just only an isolated incident, but rather pattern of behaviour and in 91,5% of all cases of violence the committer is a man, according to Autonomous Women’s Canter, Belgrade. Great majority of committers is between 41 to 48 (22, 9%), 25 to 32 (almost 17%), 33 to 40 (15%), 65+ (6, 4%).
Family Law, adopted by Serbian Parliament in February 2005, for the first time mentioned domestic violence (Article 10: “Domestic violence is forbidden”) and in the same article stipulated that “Everyone has, in accordance with a law, the right to protection against domestic violence”).
Independent sources say even 63,5% of victims, mostly women, never asked for help or called police in case they were abused. Vesna Stanojevic from Belgrade NGO Counselling Against Family Violence said more than 1.000 woman and 900 children went through so called “safe houses” all over Serbia. Analysts say every third family in Serbia is facing up with a kind of home violence.
“We have great and significant help of our friends in EU, both from official structures and NGOs. They have “know-how”, they are experienced in handling with such problems, and we appreciate their help“, source involved in “safe house” project told SerbiaToday, declining to reveal any detail regarding the way the project is functioning. “This is confidential matter”, he said.
According to him, readiness to help the victims of home violence was “significantly increased” in local communities in last two or three years and this is “really encouraging”. In last six months we had strong support of local authorities in preventing or even revealing domestic violence. But the greatest help comes from families or relatives of victims, he added.

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