02 Jun 2014
Vesna Jaric, Gender Equality Expert
UNDP Serbia is working towards creating a social and institutional environment that will contribute to reducing violence against women in the country. Photo: UNDP Serbia
We are increasingly aware that preventing gender-based violence and protecting survivors requires the involvement of the entire society. Neighbors, friends and family, school systems and media professionals are all responsible for detecting, denouncing and publically condemning violence against women.
An African proverb says: “It takes a village to raise a child.” To paraphrase: “It takes a community to end violence against women.”
In Serbia, UN organizations supported the introduction of a multisectoral service delivery model in 21 towns and sponsored specialized training so that police, healthcare and social workers, judicial officials and civil society groups could understand their roles and better work together in assisting survivors of violence.
“A battered woman requested medical assistance for injuries several times in a local healthcare center,” explained a participant in the training. “We suspected she’d been abused by her partner, but she never admitted to it. Police intervened to stop violence on three occasions, but each time she would appeal to her right not to testify against her husband. Charges against him would be dropped and she would come back to the healthcare center soon enough.”
This illustrates the institutional inability to respond to a perceived injustice and human rights violation.
During the trainings, …