/ Vranje, 12/12/2016 / Second Regional Conference of local networks of Pcinja district entitled „Common response to violence against women“ organized by the Human Rights Committee Vranje – SOS Hotline Vranje took place at the great hall of the City of Vranje on December 12, 2016.
The conference was attended by over 80 participants-members of the local networks for combating domestic violence from all 7 municipalities far south of Serbia: Vranje, Bujanovac, Presevo, Trgoviste, Bosilegrad, Surdulica, Vladicin Han, representatives of local government, gender equality bodies, and civil society organizations.
Thanking to the trust and commitment to building a multi-sectoral operation of local networks, which confirms the number of participants in the Conference, the coordinator of the Human Rights Committee Vranje – SOS Hotline Vranje, Suzana Antic Ristic emphasized that the first Regional Conference took place on December 9, 2014. The second regional gathering, as well as two years ago, was organized to mark the „16 days of activism“ and is part of the global “orange campaign” of the General Secretariat of the United Nations “Unite to stop violence against women „. This year, in this way, the south Serbian municipalities support the national campaign of the Ministry of Justice „Turn off the violence.“
Mayor of Vranje Dr Slobodan Milenkovic opened the Conference and welcomed the participants. Vladimir Bojičić, adviser at the Ministry of Justice and Gorjana Mircic Calukovic, deputy public prosecutor and a member of the Working Group of the Ministry of Justice for drafting the Law on Preventative domestic violence spoke on the new laws and measures to combat domestic violence. Maja Brankovic Djundic, the representative of the United Nations and coordinator of UNDP Program „Integrated Response to Violence against Women in Serbia“ spoke on the results of the Agency’s program of UNDP and the plans for further development of multi-sectoral cooperation in preventing violence against women in the family and partner relationships in Serbia.
The results of the newly formed Focus Task Force of the Local Network Vranje, which, holds regular monthly meetings since March 2016, presented by the permanent members of this team: Emilija Toncic – Deputy Public Prosecutor of BPO Vranje, Marija Janicijevic, a head of the criminal department of the Municipal Court of Vranje and Sinisa Stanković, assistant Commander of the Police Department Vranje.
Before the start of the conference, a team of SOS Hotline Vranje organized a collection of signatures under the petition to designate May 18 – Day of Remembrance of the murdered women victims of violence.
Mayor of Vranje expressed support to the organizers and participants, noting that they are dedicated to developing cross-sectoral work. „By organizing a regional conference, the South Serbia has joined the national campaign of the Ministry of Justice“ Turn off violence „. Violence against women is a problem of modern society. South Serbia has also recognized the threat of violence against women and in this regard, last year started the „Safe House“ with 25 beds. These conferences and activities are important, because they greatly contribute to the commitment of all of you to be visible, especially for those most needed and those are the victims of domestic and partners’ violence, especially women and children.. This Conference, attended by representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Office of UN – UNDP in Serbia and representatives from all seven municipalities of Pcinja District, confirms that Southern Serbia recognizes the serious threat that domestic violence carries. This is the message that we are consistently together to fight against this social problem, “ stressed the Mayor.
Vladimir Bojicic, adviser at the Ministry of Justice said that this conference is a true example of creating a broad coalition aiming to restrict violence.
„The initiative for the new legislation originates exactly from activities of the civilian organizations like this and the new Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence is“ written in the field „, from the experiences of the city of Zrenjanin. The law itself is a systemic solution. Competent institutions obtain broader powers and records of the perpetrators will be established „, emphasized Bojicic.
„One of the important novelties brought by the newly adopted Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence are emergency measures, especially measures of restraining orders on the spot. This gives greater powers to the police“, said Gorjana Mircic Calukovic, deputy public prosecutor and a member of the Working Group of the Ministry of Justice for drafting the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence and stressed that the implementation of the new law begins on July 1, 2017.
„The emphasis is on educating professionals, on the formation of coordination groups at BPO that will thoroughly examine individual cases of domestic violence. The aim is to improve the coordination of relevant institutions and provide rapid response and protection of victims of domestic violence”, emphasized Mircic Calukovic and stressed the importance of amendments to the Criminal Code which were adopted three new criminal offenses in the area of protection against domestic violence: persecution, sexual harassment and forced marriage.
The program „Integrated Response to fight violence against women“of the UNDP Serbia continues and it planned support for the start of an integral national SOS phones network, but also for the further strengthening of multisectoral cooperation of major institutions in the protection against domestic violence”, stressed Maja Brankovic Djundic, coordinator of the program „Integrated response to violence against women in Serbia“. She stressed the importance of the work of women’s NGOs, primarily SOS phones and the importance of long-term experience in working with women victims of domestic and partner violence, in the context of the needs that society has a common response to domestic violence. She pointed out that the UN globally recognized problem of violence against women throughout the world, and that this gathering is a good example of how local communities can contribute to spreading the messages of the UN “orange campaign”.
Organizer of the Second Regional Conference is the Human Rights Committee Vranje through a specialized program of SOS Hotline Vranje, with the support of the Oak Foundation, the City of Vranje and municipalities of Bujanovac, Trgoviste and Surdulica.