In the last decade, more than 320 women were murdered in domestic or partnership violence in Serbia, but the statistics did not register those who died from the consequences of long-lasting sufferings or whose death was not in the media, the Beta news agency reported on Friday.
Vedrana Lacmanovic, from the Autonomous Women Centre, said that at least 30 women were killed in domestic violence per year and that every third of them had previously reported brutality, while the husbands or partners were usually the perpetrators.
Adding that over 400 children in Serbia were left without mothers in the last eight years due to the femicide, Lacmanovic warned that the children who witnessed violence were not treated as victims and did not get proper support.
“Violence is being minimised, ignored or blurred as the consequence of a family argument, disturbed family relations or verbal conflict,” she said, adding the Ombudsman identified same omissions in 2016 and 2018, what “is a proof that there is no progress in the institutional answer to violence against women.”
Vanja Macanovic, a Centre lawyer, said that this year three out of eight perpetrators were sentenced to 30 or 40 years in prison, but added that the suggested changes to the penal code which would introduce a life imprisonment for the worst crimes, might make judges opt for 20 years in jail instead of the toughest one.
Serbia, along with Italy, Spain and Great Britain, has a database on domestic violence based on media reports and kept by non-governmental organisations, according to Vesna Nikolic – Ristanovic, from the Victimology Society.
She warned about the possibility of life imprisonment passed to a victim who killed a bully in his sleep, rather than to perpetrators, adding it was necessary for the third party when they report the violence to say it was without a victim’s consent because otherwise, the victim could be even more endangered.
Serbia’s Government declared May 18 as Memorial Day for female victims of violence.