logo zpnThe Women Against Violence Network wants to warn citizens that in conditions of severe isolation and limitations on public circulation, such as during a state of emergency, an increase in violence against women and children is possible. This is already indicated by the latest case of partner violence, when, according to the media reports from March 19th, A 39-year-old man from a village near Lapovo, shot a 24-year-old girl.

In complete consideration that, at the moment, society's resources are concentrated and used to combat the further spread of the CoVid-19 virus, we are asking the Government agencies and institutions, primarily social service providers, Social welfare centers, police, health care institutions, the Courts - to provide timely and adequate support and protection to women and children who have experienced domestic violence.

We especially ask that you keep in mind the extremely difficult and delicate situation in which the current state of emergency has left many vulnerable categories of women - such as those living in rural and remote settlements, Roma women, women with disabilities, refugees and displaced women and women over 65 years of age. As most of the so-called domestic (unpaid) jobs in Serbia are still performed by women, members of the above-mentioned categories are faced with a unique challenge of maintaining hygiene and other protection measures for themselves and their families. This has already been a hard-enough task, in the conditions they’ve been living in so far, and is now additionally contributing to their vulnerability.

We implore the media not to justify the situations of domestic violence and attribute them to the increased nervousness, feelings of anxiety or fear, no matter how real and present they currently are. As a society, we must be able to reach every woman who has experienced violence. Those who asks for help as well as the ones we notice are in need of help, and the current state of emergency must not be an excuse not to do so.

During the state of emergency, members of the Women Against Violence Network, will continue to receive calls and provide support to citizens via the SOS helpline, following the guidelines and keeping in mind the safety of both users and service providers. Information on accessibility of SOS support for women with experience of violence is available at the following link: Working hours and contacts of Women Against Violence Network organizations during the modified working conditions due to the Corona virus

We also want to express our deepest respect and support to all the health workers, saleswomen/men, pharmacists, bakers and all the other people who are doing their jobs, often without any protection, maintaining our wellbeing and enabling us to function in these difficult conditions. Unfortunately, after a hard day of work, some of them will be exposed to violence in their homes, where we are forced to spend as much time as possible. We also want to give out support to our elderly fellow citizens who have been placed in an unfavorable position of isolation, which can deepen existing conflicts, but also be the cause of more violence.

That is why we hereby send out a message to all of those who have experienced violence or are afraid of experiencing it - that we are here for them and to feel safe to call the nearest SOS helpline in their city or their surroundings.