“The state is determined to stand in the way of violence against women and to protect victims,” Minister of the Internal affairs of Montenegro Melvudin Nuhodzic said at a panel discussion “20 years since the establishment of the Safe Women’s Home – Where have we come and how to proceed?” held at the Ramada Hotel in Podgorica.
The president of the Safe Women’s Home, Ljiljana Raicevic, said that in the 20 years since the establishment and operation of the Safe Women’s Home, more than 5,000 victims had been placed in a shelter and more than 11,000 had called for help. She pointed out that one person can start this business but cannot succeed alone. “We need to have the support of society, the support of the brave and those who are willing to help. The time has come to respect the rights of minorities, the vulnerable, to respect women and children and to reduce violence. We need another shelter in Montenegro and we also need an apartment that would be in a secret address. We need more people who understand us and we need the support of all of you,” Raicevic said.
She said that from the very beginning, she realized that she needed partners. “The police are always our first associate and I’ve always had a good relationship with them. They weren’t educated enough at the beginning of that story, so we were there to help them, and they were ready to cooperate,” Raicevic said.
In her speech, she praised Interior Minister Melvudin Nuhodzic.
“All of you who have an idea how to help our country in the right way, join us because we all have to change Montenegro for the better, that there is less violence, killings and attempted murders,” Raicevic said.
Montenegrin Interior Minister Melvudin Nuhodzic said
“Although women’s confidence in the work of state bodies is now greater, we need to have stronger support from all actors in society – to send everyone the message that we will not be dumb to violence, that we will not turn our heads, but that we will report every form of violence. To show that we will not allow violence in Montenegrin society. The Ministry of the Internal Affairs and the Police Directorate will always be a strong support for all victims of violence and for all residents of the Safe Women’s Home. We will do our best to protect them, make them feel safe, and bring the abusers to justice. Victims need to know that violence is not their personal or family problem, but the problem of society as a whole. The state is determined to stand in the way of violence against women and to protect victims,” Nuhodzic said.
“This year, the police proposed 171 protective measures, of which: 29 removals from the apartment, 54 bans on approaching, 63 bans on harassment and stalking, 18 compulsory psychosocial treatments and seven compulsory addiction treatments.” According to the decisions of the minor offense courts, the police monitored the enforcement of a total of 217 safeguards. For eleven months this year, perpetrators of violations of the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence were issued 48 orders for removal or prohibition of return to an apartment or other place of residence.
“Everyone has to be safe in their family. We have made it clear that every house in which a woman lives must be her safe home, and that the abuser is the one who has to leave, ” Nuhodzic emphasized.
He noted that the police use significantly more protective measures, emphasizing that these cases and those measures must receive support from the judiciary, both from prosecutors when it comes to qualification and in court through sanctions.
“So, there is a clear trend of more intensive implementation of all measures within the jurisdiction of the Police, but the expediency of them, namely the reduction of violence and zero tolerance of violence, can only be achieved if all institutions operate in synchrony,” Nuhodzic said.
He recalled that the Ministry of Internal Affairs has formed an Operational Team for Fighting Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, with the intention to speak about this negative phenomenon and social problem through a team work in a more open and clear way that will mobilize all subjects of the society. In this context, the Minister stated that about 40 complex cases have been considered so far, and the handling of specific cases concerned proposing measures, referring to appropriate models of response and communication with victims.
Talking about concrete activities to improve support and protection for victims of domestic violence, Nuhodzic said that despite the fact that in the previous years a lot has been done in the fight against violence, police, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Court, educational institutions, social and health care institutions, civil sector and media, we must make additional efforts towards prevention and strengthening of education, said Nuhodzic.
He added that the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Police Directorate will intensify the training of police officers, from senior to executive staff, to ensure adequate access and provide greater support to victims of violence. Significant progress has been made through the creation of a Database that ensures the transfer of data for all reports of violence from the Police to the Centers for Social Work, and as a continuation of work, an automatic exchange of data with the Ministry of Education, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Court is planned.
“It is only through working together, affirming tolerance and a culture of nonviolence that we create a better society in which future generations will grow up. The Ministry of the Interior will continue to support women’s NGOs providing services to victims of violence, as the civilian sector is an important link in combating violence against women. Also, I will strongly advocate for harsher penalties for all offenses with elements of violence. Because only with harsher penalties can we defeat this monster,” Minister of Internal Affairs of Montenegro Mevludin Nuhodzic said in a statement at the conference on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Safe Women’s House.
The head of the Basic State Prosecutor’s Office, Ljiljana Klikovac, announced that by November 1, 2019, 261 domestic violence crimes had been committed in Montenegro and 1304 misdemeanor charges had been filed due to 1479 violations of the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence. Most were filed by the Police Directorate, not victims of violence, Klikovac said.