B92 Fund's open letter after wave of domestic violence

On the occasion of the protest, "Not one woman less, not one more dead," held on May 21 in Belgrade, organized by the Network of Women Against Violence, the Autonomous Women's Center, and Women in Black, as well as all other protests organized in the wake of a wave of domestic violence, the B92 Fund - which has so far built seven safe houses for victims of domestic violence - joins the demands of the organizers and sends an open letter to the relevant institutions.


To Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic,
Minister of Justice Nikola Selakovic,
Minister of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Aleksandar Vulin

In recent weeks, Serbia has once again been overwhelmed by a gruesome wave of violence against women which took eight innocent lives. Although every crime is individual and different, what all have in common is that they could have been prevented had the authorities done their job responsibly.

The police, the judiciary, the prosecution have failed, as well as the relevant social services that had knowledge of the existence of violence that preceded the murders, but did not react adequately.

At this moment, there are likely dozens of similar situations around Serbia where the system is a silent observer of violence that could be prevented from having a fatal outcome merely by a set of fortunate circumstances.

During the past ten years in Serbia an enormous effort of responsible individuals, non-governmental organizations and specialized institutions has been made to systematically protect women from inequality and violence.

Hotlines have been launched as well as counseling and shelters, numerous conferences organized, awareness campaigns about the unacceptability of violence in intimate relationships conducted. The process of organizing a national SOS hotline is under way as is the building of new shelters for temporary accommodation of the victims.

The question arises: what are such efforts and activities for, if state authorities demonstrate superb irresponsibility, especially on the local level, in direct contact with the violence? Late responses in the form of press releases, sackings and punishments are of no use unless the mechanism of application of existing legislation changes dramatically, which, if implemented persistently and effectively in practice, would in due course necessarily lead to a reduction of violence and femicide.

At this moment of the general shock at the level of violence, which despite all the efforts of the community and especially the civil sector dwarfs anything seen so far, we most resolutely demand that, within the state sector most responsible for the current situation, procedures be urgently changed, strict control of law enforcement imposed, and that the public be regularly informed about it.

Belgrade, May 21, 2015

The B92 Fund
Veran Matic


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