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.
Key findings on the implementation of the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence in 2019 show that the police recorded a total of 28,214 events of domestic violence, of which 68.1% were assessed as “risky events”, and in a similar percentage, 70.6% of events arising from orders for emergency measures. As much as 93.4% of police orders for emergency measures were extended (to 30 days). Only 9.1% of those who were imposed the measures violated orders, but 30.2% of the perpetrators repeated domestic violence. Lawsuits for ex officio protection measures were filed in only 2% of violent events for which emergency measures were extended.
At the meetings of groups for coordination and cooperation in 2019 in Serbia, 51,911 cases of domestic violence were reviewed, and the number of developed individual protection and support plans for victims increased considerably, although a significant number of reviewed cases remained without plans. The number of victims who participated in these meetings is worryingly small, and there is no data on the content and quality of the planned measures, as well as on their effects. The gender nature of domestic violence is consistently confirmed. Worryingly, the number of children among the victims of domestic violence is only 5%.
In 2019, data were also obtained on new criminal offenses of gender-based violence against women (Criminal Code, 2016). In addition to the small number of reports of persecution and sexual (gender) harassment, which does not correspond to the data on the prevalence of these criminal offenses, the number of those convicted of these acts is dramatically small - only 10% of persons reported for persecution and about 15% of persons reported for sexual (gender) harassment.
Available data on actions during the SARS-CoV 2 epidemic and the state of emergency indicated an initial (March 2020) decrease in reports of domestic violence by 10% compared to the same month in 2019. However, the number of meetings of groups for coordination and cooperation was significantly reduced, as well as the number of reviewed cases of violence and the number of developed individual protection and support plans for victims, especially in April 2020.
A comparison of data from 2018 and 2019 indicates a serious increase in the workload of active professionals. However, there is no data on whether this has led to an increase in available resources, or has affected the decline in the quality of work. Data on the same phenomena from different sources show a serious discrepancy, and this especially refers to the data on the work of centers for social work, in relation to the data coming from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Even after three years from the beginning of the implementation of the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence, no central records have been established (in electronic form). The government Council for the Suppression of Domestic Violence, which has not met since July 2018, is in charge of monitoring the implementation of the Law, as well as of improving the coordination of actions, prevention and protection of victims from violence.
Finally, in January 2020, Serbia received the First (baseline) report of the GREVIO expert group on the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. All statements on the situation, as well as the recommendations to the competent state bodies from this report, are in line with the findings and recommendations of Autonomous Women’s Center.
The eighth report on the independent monitoring of the implementation of the Law on the Prevention of Violence can be downloaded in English HERE.
The infographic with key data on the implementation of the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence can be found in Serbian on THIS LINK.