11/25/2013: Press-conference for the International day to combat violence against women

NGO’s started 16 days of activism to fight violence against women.

Today, in the First Family Center in Skopje, Association for health education and research- HERA together with National network to end violence against women and domestic violence and National council for gender equality- NCGE, held a press conference to mark the International campaign „16 days of activism to end violence against women”.

The campaign officially started on 25th of November and ends on 10th of December, where 25th of November is celebrated as „International Day to end violence against women”. According to the adopted National strategy for prevention and protection from domestic violence 2012-2015, the strategic time frame is already established for a comprehensive response system for the prevention of domestic violence within multiple departments, including those for health, social welfare, police, NGOs and other stakeholders.

But, many of the things listed in the strategic documents and protocols are not properly enforced in practice. Macedonia Is still missing: Shelter centers that operate and offer support and protection of victims of domestic violence 24 hours, Health institutions who react and report domestic violence, Police Stations intervening on charges of domestic violence regardless of how many times it has already been in the family, Counseling work with perpetrators of domestic violence decentralized in other cities in Macedonia.

Thus, the anti-domestic violence in Macedonia faces many challenges that public institutions should respond, especially as the Republic of Macedonia is a signatory to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (known as the Istanbul Convention).

The Convention represents the first comprehensive legally binding document which regulates all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence. So far 27 countries have signed the Convention and 8 countries have ratified. Macedonia needs to move quickly to ratify this Convention because our country doesn’t service other forms of violence against women.

Existing resources and services predominantly relate to victims of domestic violence and other forms of violence against women, especially sexual violence are practically excluded. Organizations and institutions lack qualified staff trained to work with other forms of violence. There is no standardization of services and services between providers, with the exception of piloting the standards for free legal aid.

Organizations that provide services are often concentrated in urban areas, and thus the availability of services is limited and disproportionate.

In this spirit, on the press conference campaign I SIGN – an initiative of the National Council for Gender Equality was announced.

By signing the online petition on the site  http://www.potpisuvam.org/mk/  each of us can make a contribution to as soon as possible ratification of this Convention. The campaign I SIGN is within the project “With joint efforts – Towards a new European standards for the protection of women against gender based violence” funded by the European Union.

The aim of the project is to contribute to the establishment of comprehensive legislation and policies to protect from gender-based violence in the Western Balkans, as a condition for achieving democracy, fulfillment of human rights, social inclusion and harmonization with EU values​​.

As part of the efforts to prevent domestic violence, last month HERA opened counseling center for domestic violence that offers a different approach through holistic psychosocial work that treats all members of the family. This mode of operation will offer comprehensive protection, as well as prevention of trans generational transmission of violent behaviors.

Also , this year to commemorate the 16 days of activism to end violence against women, with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Skopje, HERA will conduct educational workshops for raising awareness about domestic violence among  Roma population and youth in high schools in Skopje .

The press conference was held by Vesna Matevska – program coordinator of HERA, Elena Dimushevska – executive director of the National network to end violence against women and domestic violence and Safka Todorovska – president of the National council for gender equality – NCGE.

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