International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women has been marked today, thus marking the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign that will last until the 10 December - the Human Rights Day.
According to UN WOMEN data, violence against women is the most widespread form of human rights violations. It is estimated that seven out of ten women have been exposed to physical abuse at some point of their life.
Serbia does not possess comprehensive records on violence against women. The data of the Women against Violence Network, obtained by following articles published in the media, show that a total of 28 women were killed in Serbia in the period 1 January – 20 October 2012. All murdered women knew the perpetrators, while in some cases the violence had been reported to the competent institutions prior to the murders.
Violence against women affects all women regardless of their social and economic status, but the women from marginalized groups – Roma, refugee, internally displaced women – are exposed to greater risk. Specific characteristics of this category of population lie in the fact that those are persons who had already gone through a difficult experience of being forced to flee their homes or they are facing severe social exclusion and marginalization. Some of them live in collective centres in utterly unfavourable living conditions, some in unrecognized collective centres, while most members of Roma minority live in informal settlements. They find themselves in extremely difficult economic and social position, while the economic vulnerability sometimes affects their decision to leave the perpetrators. Their vulnerability is also reflected in the fact that they come from post-conflict areas, because the threat from perpetrators is much more traumatic if they possess weapon. We believe that it is necessary that the Republic of Serbia works more actively on combating violence against women, and that it is essential that it ratify Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
You can find more about the problems in the system of protection against violence faced by this category of women in Praxis’ Report “The Weaknesses of the System of Protection against Domestic Violence.”