Black record of domestic violence in Serbia: 19 women murdered in 2019, here's what mistakes are
"Women first turn to the police and the social welfare centers for help and they are sometimes received well, somebody listens to them, other times not," says Safe House Coordinator Vesna Stanojevic
Since the beginning of the year, 19 women and four children have been murdered in cases of domestic violence. After the bodies of two spouses were found today in a house in Bela Palanka, that number could be higher.
Safe House Coordinator Vesna Stanojevic says it's difficult to say where mistakes are made, but that the numbers are very worrying.
"In principle we are talking about it, this is being reported about, it is a topic, but only for two or three days, then it's not mentioned any more," said Stanojevic, adding that the state should deal with violence more systemically.
Women first turn to the police and the social welfare centers for help.
"These institutions are the first line and sometimes they get a good reception, they are heard, and other times not. They are told 'it's not terrible, it's going to pass, he's not really like that'. When they come to us, they mostly come out of fear that they will really be killed," said Vesna Stanojevic.
Out of all the women who have lost their lives, only two previously turned to an institution for help. Many don't believe that such a thing can happen to them.
"It's not happening to someone else, but to all of us. Women need to understand that nothing in a dysfunctional relationship is naive. She can expect something bad to happen because the abuser doesn't like something. There is jealousy, persecution, a crime that is already visible," said the coordinator of the safe house.
She added that competent authorities should take each report into consideration and reach a conclusion.
"They impose a restraining order, and when it expires, the abuser commits a new crime. Restraining orders must be automatically extended," Stanojevic said.
If you are a victim of violence or know someone who is, call 0800 - 35 00 36
(*this is an SOS hotline licensed by the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, RZBSP)
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