“TOGETHER FOR A LIFE WITHOUT VIOLENCE II”
support by Kvinna till Kvinna
The project encompasses regular activities of the multidisciplinary team for combating domestic violence in Eastern Herzegovina as well as lobbying to adopt a package of economic measures targeted at women victims of domestic violence in the RS and presentation of created possibilities through the ”Action plan of employment for RS for 2017” and programs of (self) employment created by the Employment Agency RS. The planned outcomes are:
1. Women victims of domestic violence are economically empowered in RS.
2. Women victims of domestic violence are encouraged to report violence in Eastern Herzegovina.
3. The private sector has been sensibilized for needs of economic empowerment of women victims of domestic violence in RS.
Our organization in partnership with ”Lara” submitted a package of measures aimed at women victims of domestic violence to the Ministry of Labor and Veterans RS as early as in 2016. With regard to the package, through the ”Program of self employment for RS for 2017” a part of package for economic empowerment of women victims of domestic violence regarding their self employment was adopted. Therefore, women victims of domestic violence could withdraw 5,000 KM from the Employment Agency RS. Apart from that, they were able to be a part of a program for employment through possibility of incentives aimed at women above the age of 50. The part regarding their employment in which there were planned incentives for employers who would employ them was included in the proposal of the “Action plan of employment for RS for 2017” which will be considered in 2018. Furthermore, we have made an agreement with the director of the Employment Agency RS to include women victims of domestic violence as a new category in a new software which is still in a process of development. They have not been included so far although it is imposed by law. Namely, so far the Agency has not had this category (women victims of domestic violence) classified into categories such as those they have for disabled persons, the Roma and other vulnerable categories. For those reasons, there are no statistical data how many women victims of domestic violence actively look for a job (i.e. who are registered at the Employment Agency) nor how many of them obtained these incentives for self employment. Nevertheless, by introducing the new software, which would include an entry that would register them separately, this problem would be solved.
In period from 1.1.2017 to 31.12.2017 there were 120 cases of reported domestic violence in our organization, all of them receiving psychosocial support, legal aid, work in groups of ”self-help”, intervention towards different institutions, networking, and intervention for employment in the private sector (where we sensibilized employers). We have mainly had a good cooperation with the multidisciplinary team. I would like to emphasise a pledge, made on several occasions by a mayor of Trebinje that he would take it as his responsibility to raise funds for building a safe house for accommodation of victims of domestic violence which will have a regional character (Eastern Herzegovina). He promised that the house would be built until the end of 2018. During February 2018, we are expecting to sign a Contract with the city of Trebinje in order to transfer the raised funds for building the safe house to the City, and the safe house will be at disposal of the Center for Social Work Trebinje on our proposal (it will be the property of the city of Trebinje). We think that safe houses should be in institution system of support, and the non-government sector should perform trainings of employees and monitor work of a safe house.
The package of economic measures of incentives for employers who employ this category was included in the proposal of the ”Action plan of employment for RS for 2018” in December 2017. This proposal is put forward for consideration and adoption by the Economic Committee RS. After being accorded, it will be put forward to adoption by the Government RS in the first quarter of 2018. Currently, we cannot have any feedback, only the next year, i.e. in 2018.
The following activities were held during the report period:
1. Lobbying the National Assembly of RS to adopt the package of economic measures for women victims of domestic violence with regard to the ”Action plan of employment for RS for 2017”.
We encompassed the meetings with the particular members of the National Assembly of the RS in this activity. Individual meetings were held on several occasions, mainly with the partner organisation ”Lara”, with the National Assembly members of different political options, both the position and the opposition in order to create conditions for our proposals to be supported by the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska, i.e. the Government of the RS. The “Zenski centar” team used the every possible opportunity to lobby the relevant subjects to support our package of economic measures for women victims of domestic violence. Moreover, we worked hard to make it visible in more than 20 public appearances (conferences, round tables, media shows, meetings, seminars), related to other projects which “Zenski centar” conducted during 2017. One of the achievements of these meetings is the meeting with the representative of the Gender Center RS, from whom we enlisted the support for our endeavor to include women victims of domestic violence in a vulnerable category in terms of (self) employment. After that meeting, the Gender Center RS expressed the support for our proposal to the Ministry of Labor and Veterans RS. The partner organization ”Lara” affirmed the measures for economic empowerment of women victims of domestic violence and importance of their adoption and implementation on more than 10 public gatherings held during this year as part of their other projects (seminars, workshops, consulting meetings, public debates). It is highly significant that the participants of these meetings were the women politicians, the employees of the Employment Agency who are the target group in the project, the employees of the Centers for Social Work and Public Administration. Thus by mutual work through this project and other projects too, we managed to lobby a significant number of decision-makers.
2. During the report period, these workshops for women victims of domestic violence were held in 12 municipalities/cities of the RS:
--”Zenski centar” Trebinje in Trebinje (on 09.06.2017 for 19 women), in Sokolac (on 18.07.2017 for 13 women) with the support of the Association "Podrska" Sokolac, in Derventa (on 20.07.2017 for 13 women) with the support of the Citizens Association "BiosPLUS" Derventa, in Visegrad (on 25.07.2017 for 17 women) with the support of the Association ”Most” Visegrad, in Eastern Sarajevo (on 03.08.2017 for 16 women) with the support of the Association Women's Interactive Center-ZIR” and in Zvornik (on 15.12.2017 for 24 women).
-”Lara” Bijeljina in Bijeljina (on 12.05.2017 for 17 women) in Banjaluka (on 18.08.2017 for 16 women) with the support of the Foundation ”Udruzene zene” Banjaluka, in Prijedor (on 18.08.2017 for 13 women) with the support of the Association ”Prijedorcanki Izvor”, in Doboj (on 24.08.2017 for 10 women) with the support of the ”Buducnost” Modrica, in Foca (on 29.09.2017 for 16 women) in cooperation with the Center for Social Work, in Bosanska Gradiska (on 24.08. 2017 for 11 women) with the help of the former victim of domestic violence.
The workshops presenters informed women about the Istanbul Convention and work on its implementation in B&H, the current state programs of employment and incentives for economic empowerment on which they have the right as victims of violence. Moreover, they emphasized that by associating they could exert a pressure on services of employment to create programs of employment. Primarily because the laws of labor and employment predict a possibility of extraordinary measures for employment of women targeted at gender equality and due to the low rates of employment of women (around 26% of women in RS are employed when compared with overall women’s labor capable population).
The workshops with women were beneficial for several reasons. Conversations with women activists of ”Zenski centar” and ”Lara” confirmed different kinds of challenges with which women who want to object to violence are faced, and one of the key challenges is a lack of ”safe” places for getting information and support. Furthermore, association of Employment Agencies, non-government organizations, Centers for Social Work is necessary for creation of sustainable programs for employment of women. United, these activists can make an impact on sensibility of employers, encourage women and exert a constant pressure on creating programs for economic empowerment of victims of violence, which must contain different components, concerning the different needs of beneficiaries.
3. The multidisciplinary approach to combating domestic violence in Eastern Herzegovina, through this report period has held 6 regular and one extraordinary meeting in every municipality i.e. overall 42 meetings.
These meetings of the multi disciplinary team in Eastern Herzegovina are very important and useful because the concrete cases of violence in a particular municipality have been discussed as well as mechanisms of providing support to victims. One of the results of this networking is the promised pledge by the city of Trebinje to build a safe house, which will have a regional character. In this period our organization had 120 interventions in terms of domestic violence where we provided legal aid, psycho social support, associating with other relevant institutions, as well as finding the individual employment for women victims of domestic violence.
4. The activities of developing cooperation with the institutions in the RS included meetings and constant communication with the minister of the RS Ministry of Labor and Veterans, Mrs. Mira Vasic, and with the Director of the Employment Agency of RS, Mr. Miroslav Vujicic. We had three meetings with Mrs. Vasic in Banja Luka, while one with the Director of the RS Employment Agency in Pale as well as a steady telephone communication. The director of the Agency has expressed his readiness to support our initiative to include women victims of domestic violence in a special employment program that would be created only for them for 2018 but also in the following years (as a permanent category), on condition that it was supported by the Ministry of Labor and Veterans of RS. Thanks to the efforts of Mrs. Vasic, who was successfully and completely lobbied, women victims of domestic violence have been included in the proposal of the "Action Plan of Employment of the Government RS for 2018". Apart from the Republic Employment Agency, both organizations held individual meetings with their regional Employment Agency.
5. Sensibilization of the private sector and the public in the RS
Considering all the challenges of organizing workshops with women in 12 municipalities/cities, it was not always possible to organize meetings with the business sector in remote cities at the same time. The meetings with the business sector were successfully organized in Trebinje and Bijeljina, where representatives of the Electric Power Industry of the RS, the Employment Agency, the Chamber of Commerce, Associations of the Craftsmen, the Agency for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises and entrepreneurs were present. In Gradiska, with a representative of the local self-government and two women entrepreneurs, and in Donji Zabar with the director of the most developed company in that community (Agreks). During 2017, our foundation had a press conference on 31.5.2017 (TV RT, Elta TV and Herceg TV, the agency Srna and the Trebinje radio, as well as numerous portals were present), when we presented the currently achieved results from this project (that women victims of domestic violence were included for the first time in the "Program of self employment for RS for 2017"). On 25.12.2017, we appeared on the RTRS show ”U Fokusu" (”In focus”) where we presented the achieved results as well as plans for economic empowerment of women victims of domestic violence and the multidisciplinary approach to combating domestic violence in Eastern Herzegovina as an example of good practice. Our guests were representatives of the RS Ministry of Interior (at the same time the representative of the Network of Women Police Officers of RS) and of the Police Administration Trebinje. Two radio shows were also held (in Trebinje and Bijeljina).
1.As a result of our lobbying, women victims of domestic violence have a possibility for self employment in the RS. For the first time women victims of domestic violence were included as a vulnerable category in the ”Program of (self) employment for RS for 2017” advertised by the Employment Agency RS. As a result of that, there were non-repayable funds provided for their employment, i.e. 2,000,000 KM in total or 5,000 KM of non-repayable funds for 400 persons. The other possibility, through this Program, was the program aimed at employment of persons above the age of 50, with an incentive provided for employers who employ them. This part does not refer to the separated category of women victims of domestic violence but to women in general. However, a significant number of women victims of domestic violence are over 50 years at the moment when they leave the violent family. It is of great importance to emphasize an agreement with the director of the Employment Agency to include women victims of domestic violence as a separate category during current changes in the new software due to significance of statistical records of their registrations at the Agency but also due to statistical records of their (self) employment. Due to the exact non existence of this categorization, we do not have available information about a number of beneficiaries of this category regarding the ”Program of self employment for RS for 2017”, but it was agreed with the Employment Agency that this category would be separately recorded during ongoing development of the new software.
2. Victims of domestic violence have a quality chain of support from organizations and institutions in Eastern Herzegovina. Our foundation itself provided a total of 120 victims' interventions (psychosocial counseling, legal aid, employment, accommodation of one victim to a safe house in Banja Luka, telephone support, etc.). In addition, thanks to the Platform, we have further developed some forms of victim support (e.g. re-examination of the cases of domestic violence in Police and Prosecution to avoid repetition of procedural mistakes) and improved mutual cooperation (e.g. the Mayor's pledge to raise money for the safe house, better mutual cooperation and improved system of support).
3. Given that there were no incentives for companies which employ women victims of domestic violence this year, but only for their self employment, we can only indicate as a result the employment of two women victims of domestic violence for whom our organization made an intervention. Furthermore, there is our women’s agricultural cooperative "Smokvica" with the full responsibility Trebinje, which is of a social character and which we expanded for two more members in 2017 (a girl and a woman victims of domestic violence), but which is not fully established yet, i.e. it is under construction.
Direct beneficiaries of this project are women and children victims of domestic violence in the Republic of Srpska.
Direct target groups are:
- Members of the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska for lobbying to include the package of economic measures in the "Action Plan of Employment for RS for 2017";
- Unemployed women victims of domestic violence through workshops held in 12 municipalities in RS, with 185 women;
- 76 women and children victims of domestic violence who requested help in the office of the “Zenski centar” Trebinje.
Indirect target groups are:
- Employers who will employ women victims of domestic violence;
- The Employment Agencies of RS and their regional branches, the Chamber of Commerce and their regional branches, Associations of Employers and Craftsmen;
- Businessmen in 12 municipalities/towns of RS;
- 63 institutions / organizations that signed the Cooperation Agreement with our organization;
- The media, and through them the citizens of RS.
1.Women victims of domestic violence are economically empowered in RS – this is partially achieved because they have a possibility of self employment. For the first time, women victims of domestic violence have been introduced in incentive measures through the “Program of self employment for RS for 2017” on the RS level. Namely, women victims of domestic violence are recognized as a new category of population for which the country appropriates incentive funds in terms of non-repayable donations in amount of 5,000 KM, which would enable them to obtain the self-employment. Indicators are the adopted measures of support for self-employment of women victims of domestic violence in RS in the “Action plan of employment for RS for 2017” and the “Program of self employment for RS for 2017”. However, during 2018 we are planning to fight for the incentives for employers who employ those categories of women victims of domestic violence without capacities (personal and economic) to start their own business with the support of the state with these specific-purpose funds.
2. Women victims of domestic violence are encouraged to report violence in Eastern Herzegovina. For the first time since the establishment of our organization, that is, for 15 and a half years of work, our organization has been addressed by a woman victim of domestic violence that was exposed only to psychological violence. So far, the victims have spoken exclusively when they were exposed at least to two types of violence (always psychological and mostly physical violence).
3. The private sector has been sensibilized for needs of economic empowerment of women victims of domestic violence. Since the incentive for employers who employ this category of women was not included on the republic level in 2017, we cannot know how much we have influenced the employers in RS. Thus, there were no incentives, there were no possibilities of employing women victims of domestic violence on this basis (where we could have a record of number of women victims of domestic violence who were employed). However, on the local level, even this year, our organization managed to employ two women victims of domestic violence in the city of Trebinje, precisely thanks to building sensibilization in these employers.
The most successful story is the pledge made by the Mayor of Trebinje to take over the fundraising for the construction of the safe house that will be regional in character. This is also the result of work of the multidisciplinary team.
The foundation "Lara" from Bijeljina is our partner on the project and we have had good cooperation what is manifested on the success of the project.
We have had great support and assistance in successful implementation of lobbying for the inclusion of a package of economic measures from the Minister Mrs. Vasic, who really pledged to "push through" our proposals through her Ministry as well as through the RS Government. We would certainly like to point out the Director of the RS Employment Agency. We also had the support of the entire multidisciplinary team from Eastern Herzegovina, i.e. 62 institutions, in the successful implementation of this project. It is also important to mention the support of the media, especially the RTRS, which allowed us to broadcast 45 minutes free of charge.