SOS for Respecting the Laws

Press Release by the Women Against Violence Network

Women Against Violence (WAV) Network is reminding the public that, according to the Law of Social Welfare, Article 64, services of social welfare should be provided by service providers who are licensed through the process of public procurement, and that, accordingly, providing the service of National SOS Helpline for Women Victims of Violence, must be carried out in accordance to the law.

In regards to the announcement from the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs about the open call for submitting project proposals for establishing of National SOS line for women victims of violence, WAV Network is warning that these kinds of social services  can be financed through the process of public procurement exclusively and that opening of this call is not in accordance with the Law. Although the Minister announces that this legal obligation will be “bypassed” by the government conclusion, we are reminding the government and the public that one cannot break the law by means of the government’s conclusions.

We are also reminding the public that the same Ministry has already opened a similar call in 2017 and it was dismissed after the backlash of the Autonomous Women’s Centre on the basis of the violation of Article 64 of the Law.

Furthermore, the same Ministry is announcing piloting services which have already been provided for 25 years by the organisations who are members of the Women Against Violence Network. The Network of SOS Helplines in Vojvodina is providing this same service for more than 6 years for the entire territory of the province, through their unique and free-of-charge SOS Helpline. Keeping in mind the existing expertise and experience in providing this service, we don’t see any reason in spending tax payers money on “piloting” the same service.

Although establishing of the National SOS Helpline is of paramount importance for empowering the women victims of male violence, Women Against Violence Network is warning the Ministry that violating the law is not exemplary, neither to the perpetrators nor to the citizens who are expected to obey the laws which define their rights and responsibilities.

Signed by the organisations, members of WAV Network:

  1. Autonomous Women’s Centre, SOS Helpline for Women Survivors of Violence, Belgrad
  2. Association of Roma Women “Osvit”, SOS Helpline in Roma and Serbian language for women who survived violence, Nis
  3. Victimology Society of Serbia, VSS Info and support to victims, Belgrade
  4. Cultural Centre DamaD, SOS Helpline for women and children victims of violence, Novi Pazar
  5. Oasis of Safety, counselling for victims of domestic violence, Kragujevac
  6. Committee for Human Rights, SOS Helpline for women and children victims of violence, Vranje
  7. Roma Centre for Women and Children Daje, SOS Helpline for victims of violence, Belgrade
  8. Women’s Centre, SOS Helpline for victims of domestic violence, Uzice
  9. Women for Peace, SOS Helpline for Women Survivors of Violence, Leskovac
  10. Association of Women Sandglass, SOS Helpline for women in situations of violence, Krusevac
  11. Association of Women Impuls, direct support to the women survivors of violence, Tutin
  12. ASTRA Association – Anti-trafficking Action, SOS Helpline for supporting the victims of human trafficking, Belgrade
  13. Women’s Alternative, SOS Helpline for Women Victims of Violence, Sombor
  14. Association Fenomena, SOS Helpline for Women Victims of Domestic Violence, Kraljevo
  15. Association Atina, Licensed housing programme and support for women victims of human trafficking, Belgrade
  16. ...From the Circle – Vojvodina, organisation for support of women with disabilities, SOS Helpline for women with disablities who are exposed to violence, Novi Sad, SOS Vojvodina Network
  17. SOS Women’s Centre, SOS Helpline for women and children victims of violence, Novi Sad, SOS Vojvodina Network
  18. Roma Association Novi Becej, SOS Helpline in national minority languages, SOS Vojvodina Network
  19. Support Centre for Women, SOS Helpline and counseling for legal and psycho-social help for women survivors of violence, SOS Vojvodina Network
  20. Women’s Association Femina, SOS Helpline for women who survived violence, Smederevska Palanka
  21. Zrenjanin Educational Centre, SOS Helpline for women in situations of violence, SOS Vojvodina Network