Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women

One in two women in Serbia experiences "some kind of violence," Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajloviĉ has said.

Source: Tanjug

Speaking on Tuesday, she said the government "will work on changing relevant laws, offering assistance to safe houses, and providing education so as to help women become independent in economic terms."

The Serbian government "takes violence against women seriously, and for that reason set up a coordination body for gender equality," Mihajloviĉ noted.

“When we talk about violence against women, we must discuss gender equality in earnest, how to empower women, help them be independent, help them solve a problem when they have one,” Mihajloviĉ said at a meeting dedicated to International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women at Tanjug's Press Center.

The coordination body will be made up of several committees, and one of them will be tasked with fighting violence against women, Mihajloviĉ said, adding that this body wants to cooperate with the women's parliamentary network, civil sector, European agencies, but also with the UN agency.

"One in two women in Serbia experiences some form of violence, and that is a social problem that should be resolved through joint efforts," she underscored.

This is a serious topic that deserves to be addressed each and every day, the Serbian deputy prime minister said.

22 women murdered

A total of 2,800 women sought help in the clinic for victims of domestic violence since the beginning of the year, and 22 women were killed in "household arguments," which is a serious reason for concern although the figure is two times lower compared to the statistics from last year, clinic coordinator Vesna Stanojeviĉ said on Tuesday.

Addressing a meeting to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Tanjug's Press Centre, Stanojeviĉ noted that the clinic is doing all it can, but strategic goals need to be defined and joint efforts need to be invested to tackle this problem.

One murdered woman is already one too many, let alone 22, Stanojeviĉ said and added that areas in which the clinic underperformed need to be identified and possibilities for better performance need to be established.

Mikaina Stevanoviĉ of the City Center for Social Work noted that violence is a phenomenon that mostly hits the weakest, and added that statistics show 2,397 victims of domestic violence were registered at social work centers in 2013. Of these, 37 percent were cases involving children, 47 percent involved abuse of adults and 15 percent were cases of abuse of the elderly, she noted.

She said that the predominant forms of domestic violence are psychological and emotional violence, which often go hand in hand with sexual violence as the most difficult form of abuse to recognize and the form of violence least likely to be discussed.

Usual victims of domestic violence are mainly women and 52 percent of cases of abuse of children involve girls. As the age threshold keeps rising, victims in 77 percent of abuses cases are women.

Stevanoviĉ said that men are also victims of violence, but the number of cases involving male victims is considerably lower.

For example, 288 women aged over 65 are victims of domestic violence, while 81 men in the same age group are targeted by abuse, she said.

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