The Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia and the Network of Women Against Violence have sent the Recommendations for improvement of systemic measures in the area of domestic violence prevention to the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior.
They were presented to the public at the press conference in Media Center, and the immediate reason for drafting of these recommendations were the cases in which two women and one child were killed in the centres for social work in July.
“A child witnessing domestic violence should be considered a direct victim of violence. When there is a report on domestic violence, it is necessary to assess the risk for a child’s safety urgently and provide protection to a child through support to a non-violent parent. Key recommendations have been sent to state institutions and we expect their quick reaction,” said MODS Director Saša Stefanović.
“Representatives of competent institutions, the Centre for Social Work and the Courtin particular, need to improve the knowledge of the connection between violence against women and abuse and molesting of children as a way of controlling women. Even when a child wants to get in touch with a violent father, they are obliged to assess whether it is in the best interests of a child,”said the Program Coordinator of the Autonomous Women’s Center, Tanja Ignjatović.
In order to improve the systemic response to cases of domestic violence, the proposed recommendations are:
- Recognize a child who is present in domestic violence as a direct victim of violence and ensure their safety through the support of non-violent parents;
- The presence of a child in domestic violence is to be considered as a risk to their safety and the basis for urgent action;
- Anticipate and implement special protection and support measures for children who are present in domestic violence, including protection and support to nonviolent parents;
- Develop guidelines for assessing and determining the best interests of a child when performing professional activities in the field of legal family protection, taking into account that the right of the child to maintain personal relations with the parent should be considered in the context of the violence of the parent against the child and/or the other parent and the right of the child and non-violent parents to be protected from all forms of mental and physical violence;
- Establish specialized organizational units for legal family protection, including protection against domestic violence in centres for social work;
- Improve monitoring of the implementation of protective measures against domestic violence and cooperation between institutions in each individual case, in accordance with the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and the individual plan for the protection and support of a victim.
Full text and complete Recommendations for improving systemic protection in the area of prevention and protection against domestic violence can be found HERE.