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.

Media engagement

TV Pink covered the roundtable in their main news bulletin

TV B92 covered the roundtable in their morning news bulletin.

List of participants:

  1. Zoran Pasalic, Association of Misdemeanour Judges
  2. Mirjana Nikolic, Association of Misdemeanour Judges
  3. Dragana Petrovic, Government of Republic of Serbia, Gender Equality Council
  4. Danijela Spasic, Police Academy, Research Centre
  5. Bobana Macanovic, Autonomous Women’s Centre
  6. Tanja Ignjatovic, Autonomous Women’s Centre
  7. Jovanka Brkic, Women in Action, Velika Plana
  8. Bojana Balon, UNDP, Gender Advisor
  9. Danijela Djurovic, UNDP, Gender Programme Coordinator
  10. Marija Lukic,OSCE, Legal Aid Fund Manager
  11. Vesna Nikolic-Ristanovic, Director VDS
  12. Katarina Živanović, journal Danas
  13. Lada Protić, SOS line for women and children victims of domestic violence
  14. Jelena Srnić, VDS volunteer
  15. Milena Stanisavljević, News agency Tanjug
  16. Jelena Sekulić, Ministry for Labour and Social Politics, Project Combating gender based violence
  17. Željka Burgund, SOS children line
  18. Švaravalo Branka, SOS children line
  19. Natalija Cecelja, Faculty for special education and rehabilitation
  20. Jelena Dimitrijević, Faculty for special education and rehabilitation
  21. Slobodan Savić, Faculty of medicine
  22. Danijela Dobožanović, journalist
  23. Novica Ostojić, Representative of the Directorate of Criminal Police, Belgrade
  24. Đuro Malubabić, radio Jugoslavija
  25. Danijela Simeunović, TV Pink
  26. Ida Marković Miličić, Radio Belgrade
  27. Sanja Copic, VDS
  28. Danica Radakovic, VDS
  29. Nikola Petrovic, VDS

An introduction to the Victimology Society of Serbia as told by its Director, Vesna Nikolic-Rastanovic, a founding member of this organisation.