ZAGREB, Sept 22 (Hina) – Two representatives of the HDZ’s Katarina Zrinska women’s community and parliamentary group on Tuesday underlined the importance of combating violence against women, saying the government and the ruling HDZ party had opted for zero tolerance to violence.
Vesna Bedekovic said there were 19 shelters for victims of domestic violence in Croatia and that 17 were financed by the relevant ministry with HRK 6.5 million annually. Since 2017, the government has invested HRK 20 million in financing those shelters.
Croatia also has seven hotlines and the Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy finances six organised by associations and homes for victims of domestic violence.
Bedekovic said shelters for victims of violence were organised in every county and that six provided solutions for their temporary accommodation.
The government has secured HRK 70 million from the European Social Fund for those shelters and a call has been advertised for projects related to shelters in Krapina-Zagorje, Koprivnica-Krizevci, Lika-Senj, Virovitica-Podravina, Pozega-Slavonia and Dubrovnik-Neretva counties.
Over the past three years, the government has invested HRK 15.5 million to strengthen counselling centres and shelters for women and children victims of domestic violence.
Bedekovic announced a project called “Let’s stop violence against women – there is no excuse for violence” in which HRK 10.5 million in European funds will be invested.
Asked by the press if domestic violence had increased during the current pandemic, she said shelters had 174 beneficiaries in early May and 210 in mid-June.
She said social welfare centres took action in 10,700 cases of domestic violence last year and in 6,690 this year to date.
“It’s necessary to stop violence, notably against women and children. The government and the HDZ have opted for zero tolerance to violence and many efforts have been made to send this message to the victim – you are entitled to help and you have someone to talk to,” said Nada Murganic, president of Katarina Zrinski.
She said the Penal Code was amended to protect victims as much as possible by treating violence as a crime, not a misdemeanour any more, and added that the Istanbul Convention was also adopted.
On the occasion of National Day of combating violence against women, the parliamentary Gender Equality Committee chair, Marija Selak Raspudic of the Bridge party, underscored that domestic violence was one of the worst forms of violence against women.
Calling for better prevention, Selak Raspudic underscored that discussing the problem was already and act of prevention.
Seven women killed by someone close to them YTD
According to data from the Interior Ministry (MUP), of the 23 murders committed in the first eight months of 2020, eight were by close persons and seven of the victims were women – one was a common-law spouse, two were spouses and one sister, two victims were mothers and one was a grandmother, Selak Raspudic told a press conference.
There were 708 crimes involving bodily injury, 88 with grave injuries and 1,796 cases of threat were recorded by close persons. There were also 6,523 reports of domestic violence and of that in 4,116 cases the victims were women and in 2,407 the victims were men. There were also 1,005 cases of serious domestic violence crimes with 849 being against women, Selak Raspudic said.
As far as the Justice and Public Administration Ministry data is concerned, 281 decisions were delivered in accordance with the Penal Code, 242 as the final decision and of that 248 ended in convictions, 213 of which were final. As far as grave bodily injuries are concerned, 11 decisions were delivered with 10 convictions and one person was acquitted, she added.
She underscored that in the majority of cases these were conditional prison sentences ranging from 6 to 12 months and assessed that that indicates what has already been pointed out as a problem and that is very mild punishment as far as convictions are concerned. In that regard, the committee plans to work on creating a more stringent legislative framework and to raise awareness in society through education and prevention.
MP Grozdana Peric (HDZ) and member of the committee underscored that in the first nine months of this year there have been 6,690 cases of domestic violence while in that period last year there were 8,117 which indicates a mild decrease in those cases.