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“WE WANT SAFE HOUSES AND NOT SHELTERS!”

Support by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

With the support of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation NGO Zenski centar Trebinje has held a Street manifestation at the Liberty Square in Trebinje on April 7th 2012. The manifestation under the name “We Want Safe Houses, not Shelters” was intended to promote the importance of Safe houses and to refer to the current Social Security Bill in Republika Srpska, which in the article 121 proposes shelters as an alternative accommodation for each socially jeopardized category (including children and adults, victims of trafficking, homeless people, drug addicts, victims of domestic violence etc.)

Believing that the victims of domestic violence cannot be put along with other socially jeopardized categories (as they require different treatments from that which can be provided in shelters) the aim of Street manifestation was to point out the flaws in the current Social Security Bill and to promote the need of establishing a greater number of Safe houses in Republika Srpska, especially in the region of East Herzegovina which does not have a single Safe house. Zenski centar Trebinje has distinguished the importance of drawing attention to this subject matter and recognized it as a very important step towards the amendment of the current Social Security Bill in Republika Srpska and consequently the establishment of a greater number of Safe houses.

For the purposes of manifestation, we have designed promotional material (posters, leaflets, plastic bags etc.) through which we had briefly presented problems and justified the need for a greater number of Safe houses. The promotional material was distributed by our activists, members of the Zenski centar Trebinje. As well as that, the activists spread a word on the current Social Security Bill and its flaws concerning the problem of situating the victims of domestic violence into shelters, instead of the Safe houses.

The manifestation was also attended and covered by media (RTRS, Trebinje danas, Lokoportal and Korona radio). An activist of Zenski centar Trebinje, Professor Ms Mirna Bijedic, had an interview with several media houses in which she explained the purposes of manifestation and its importance to the entire public of Republika Srpska. She also underlined the fact that Republika Srpska lacks Safe houses, paying a special attention to the fact that the region of East Herzegovina has none. Thus, she strongly emphasized the urgency and need of establishing at least one Safe house in the mentioned region.

According to the close observation of activists, the manifestation had an excellent response and was warmly received and supported by both female and male population. The townspeople of Trebinje were highly motivated and interested in the manifestation. Not a single case of negative response related to the subject matter was recorded during the manifestation. The interaction with the townspeople of Trebinje was valued excellent by the activists who participated in the Street manifestation and by Zenski centar Trebinje.

Finally, we conclude that the people of Trebinje are acquainted with the social problems of domestic violence victims and that they have become aware of the importance of building a Safe house in the region of East Herzegovina. As a result, we strongly feel that they are ready to conceptualize and embrace our idea of a Safe house, just as we are ready to put our efforts into practically applying it.