IZ KRUGA VOJVODINA at the Provincial Ombudsman Conference

Ivana Zelic, a coordinator of the SOS service of IZ KRUGA VOJVODINA, talked at the conference Five Years of the Beginning of the Implementation of the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence- effects, challenges and solutions held in the Assembly Building of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina on December 5, 2022.

The provincial protector of citizens – the ombudsman, a coordinator for the network Life without Violence organized the conference. The network Life without Violence gathers its members that deal with domestic violence each year for the Campaign 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. The aim is to educate, promote the work of the institutions and exchange experience.

In the panel Support services for the victims of domestic violence, Ivana Zelic talked about the SOS phone line as a specialized support service for women that experienced violence, the role of the NGOs that provide support to women survivors of violence, the principles of work on the SOS line, the most common reasons for reporting violence and the accessibility of services for women with disabilities exposed to violence.

Ivana Zelic

– Consultants that work on the SOS line estimate the level of vulnerability and jointly devise a safety plan with a woman, inform about the actions of competent institutions, provide advisory support and help understand the dynamics of violence. Women often stay in violent situations because of fear and shame, because close persons don’t support them, because legal procedures last too long, have nowhere to go, have insufficient income and are afraid of the escalation of violence. For these reasons, it is significant that all the institutions act in coordination because only in that way will they provide adequate protection – said Ivana Zelic. 

Apart from Ivana Zelic the following talked at the conference: the representatives of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, the Provincial Secretariat for Social Policy, Demography and Gender Equality, judicial authorities, social welfare centers, health institutions and the representatives of domestic and international institutions and organizations that provide support to women exposed to violence.

The panel participants concluded that organizing continuing education for experts supporting women who experienced violence is significant, they emphasized the importance of multi-sectoral cooperation between the institutions and NGOs to improve the provision of support and protection to women exposed to violence. They pointed out the material part that media play, which with their professional and ethical reporting might contribute to the education of the public about violence against women.

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