Montenegro gets a protocol on procedures in domestic violence cases

This year’s “16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence” campaign started in Montenegro by signing the Protocol on cooperation in the cases of domestic violence. The Protocol is designed to systemize the joint work of all relevant entities in the implementation of laws and conventions, as well as obligations when it comes to the necessary measures to ensure organizing, equipping and educating of specialized professionals who deal with domestic violence.

The Protocol on cooperation in the cases of domestic violence was signed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Duško Marković; Supreme Court Deputy President Stanka Vučinić; Supreme Court Prosecutor Ranka Čarapić; Minister of Education and Sports Slavoljub Stijepović, Minister of HealthMiodrag Radunović; Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Suad Numanović; Head of the Police Directorate Veselin Veljović and Misdemeanour Council President Zoran Živković.

“Family is a foundation of every society, including ours. Unfortunately, domestic violence is one of the greatest threats to Montenegrin society,” said Duško Marković, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice in the Government of Montenegro. “At the normative level Montenegro has introduced all relevant policies and instruments for protection against domestic violence, but that is not enough. Cooperation and coordination between responsible institutions has to be further strengthened and improved in order to secure consistent application of laws. We are signing today a document that will serve as a guide and obligatory checklist for those institutions to act more efficiently in cases of domestic violence,” Deputy Prime Minister Marković underlined.

Leopold Maurer, Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro said: “In the EU Progress Report it is recognized that Montenegro has made certain advances in the domain of gender equality by adopting the laws, strategies and action plans. However, it is still falling behind in the domain of protection of victims of domestic violence. While solid laws are of crucial importance, their implementation remains to be strengthened. Political will, social and cultural change are necessary preconditions to achieve that goal.” Mr. Maurer explained that drafting of the Protocol is one of the activities within the framework of the Gender Programme IPA 2010, worth 700,000 euros to be implemented over the next three years.

Rastislav Vrbensky, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro said: “We believe that this Protocol successfully combines longstanding commitment, positive energy and cooperation among all actors in the process, who employed all its efforts, knowledge and the good will to set effective and implementable standards for prevention of violence and protection of victims.” Mr. Vrbensky pointed out that UN system fully supports Montenegro in implementing UN and EU standards and best practices related to gender equality, including prevention of family violence and protection of victims. “According to some NGO reports, every third women in Montenegro experienced some sort of violence. However, statistic data are insufficient and should be done in a more comprehensive manner,” Mr. Vrbensky concluded.

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Introductory text of the Protocol:

“By adopting the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence (SLCG 46/10), and the Strategy on the Protection against Domestic Violence stemming from the said Act for the period 2012 to 2015, a covenant has been prescribed to produce a Protocol on the treatment, prevention and protection against domestic violence.

The aim of the Protocol is to establish and encourage the establishment of multidisciplinary cooperation with clearly elaborated procedures followed in each system.

The Protocol is designed in the way to respect the basic principles deriving from all the conventions and the laws listed in the Strategy on the Protection against Domestic Violence and it refers to the comprehensive protection of family against violence.

The Protocol is designed to systemize the joint work of all systems during the implementation of laws and conventions, as well as obligations regarding undertaking of the necessary measures to ensure organizing, equipping and educating of a sufficient number of specialized professionals that deal with domestic violence.“

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Recent reports of CEDAW Committee acknowledge the efforts of Montenegro to set necessary legal and strategic framework to combat violence. However, the Committee is concerned about the high incidence of violence and the lack of effective instruments to implement legal provisions.

In its recommendations, the CEDAW Committee urges Montenegro to undertake concrete measures, including:

  1. investigation,
  2. prosecution and sentencing of all reported cases,
  3. introducing mandatory training for judiciary, prosecutors and police on standardized procedures for dealing with victims, and
  4. more comprehensive research and statistics about violence.

Thanks to UNDP’s partners from the relevant ministries, who launched this initiative, the campaign will also answer to CEDAW recommendation related to ratification of the Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. The partners involved in this endeavour are: Ministry of Justice, Ministry for human and minority rights, Ministry of labour and social welfare, centres for social care, Ministry of health, Ministry of education, courts, police, Misdemeanour court, NGOs, other UN agencies including UNICEF and UNHCR, regional experts, etc..

With an aim to offer concrete interventions for capacity building for institutions and comprehensive research, in partnership of the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights and EU Delegation, UN System in Montenegro though UNDP is implementing Gender Programme IPA 2010. Some components of the Programme, such as strengthening political participation of women and economic empowerment, are designed to substantially support its anti-violence interventions.

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“16 Days of Activism in Montenegro: No Violence against Women” is a United Nations campaign. Its main goal is to raise awareness around and end violence against women. The campaign takes place annually, starting on 25 November – International Day of No Violence against Women and ending on 10 December – International Human Rights Day. The period includes Universal Children’s Day and World AIDS Day.

The Campaign is organized in synergy of international organizations and institutions, Government of Montenegro and the civil society, and will be continued with a series of public events through November and the first half of December. These events include public discussions, roundtables, distribution of education and information materials on violence and the ways to combat it, video-performances, etc.