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Serbia: National roundtable on small arms and domestic violence
On 8 March 2010 the Victimology Society of Serbia organised a national roundtable in Belgrade to focus public attention on the use of small arms by perpetrators of domestic violence.
The main aim of the roundtable was to raise awareness about the topic and advocate for policies to prevent gun violence in homes, and exchange experiences and ideas about possible ways to prevent lethal domestic violence in the future. Speakers included:
Dr Mirjana Dokmanović: What are the laws and how do they protect us from domestic violence and abuse with small arms?
Vesna Stanojević: The role of safe houses: the possibilities and limitations
Jasmina Nikolić: Small arms and domestic violence: The research findings and practical experience
The presentations and subsequent discussion highlighted the following:
The strong connection between former participation in wars and the use of small arms in domestic violence;
That most cases of the domestic violence that included small arms happened when a woman would try to leave her husband/partner.
Women and children are especially endangered, and many of these attacks had grave consequences on the physical and emotional state of the victims.
Perpetrators usually use physical force in domestic violence more frequently than weapons. Still, the prevalence of domestic violence incidents that included the use of small arms by the violent husband / partner should not be underestimated. Therefore, an effort to prevent this dangerous phenomenon has to be made.
The findings related to factors that act favorably on the woman's efforts to leave the violent intimate partner, as well as those that indicate what obstacles lay in the way of achieving this, should serve as a guideline for creating an effective and safe program for battered and abused women. This especially applies to direct protection from stalking and the escalation of violence against women who decide to leave the abuser, but also to raising awareness of the community about these problems.
Our results clearly indicate that we should continue to educate experts of all profiles and take other measures to ensure consistent and appropriate application of the law.