Article Index

TOGETHER FOR A LIFE WITHOUT VIOLENCE III

supported by Kvinna till Kvinna

Project objectives:
1. Women victims of domestic violence are encouraged to report violence in Eastern Herzegovina.
2. Women victims of domestic violence are economically empowered in RS.
3. Women victims of domestic violence are informed about existing programs of economic support for 2018 targeting their category.

Achieved results:
1. Women victims of domestic violence have a quality chain of support by organizations and institutions in Eastern Herzegovina.
2. Women victims of domestic violence have a possibility of (self) employment in RS.
3. Women victims of domestic violence have an alleviated access to information about existing programs of economic support in 2018, targeting their category.

During the reporting period in partnership with “Lara” Bijeljina, our organization entirely achieved the planned targets and results.
During 2018 ”Zenski centar” put on record 147 interventions for women victims of domestic violence, what is 22.5% more compared to 2017.
In the reporting period we held 36 regular meetings of multidisciplinary team, per 6 in all 6 municipalities/city of Eastern Herzegovina (Trebinje, Ljubinje, Nevesinje, Bileca and Berkovici). At the meetings we continuously followed and discussed how to provide wider and more coordinated support to victims of domestic violence in those local communities with all signers i.e. members of the multidisciplinary team. Synchronization of individual support and help of institutions and a non-government sector brought better results and more comprehensive support to women.
The RS Government adopted women victims of domestic violence as a new category of vulnerable groups in the ”Action Plan of Employment for the RS for 2018” and there are new upcoming incentives aimed at their (self) employment. By means of the Public Call announced by the Employment Agency RS, employers were enabled to withdraw 4,000 of non-refundable funds for employment of some of three vulnerable categories of women (victims of domestic violence, rural women and unemployed middle-aged women) on the basis of this Call. The funds were provided for 75 persons. On the other hand, according to the same call, self-employment was provided for 40 persons from above listed vulnerable categories of women. Based on their business plan, for that purpose they could obtain 5,000 BAM of non-refundable funds. Therefore, overall 115 individuals obtained a possibility to get self-employment or employment through this program. Categories which had possibility to apply were: women victims of domestic violence, rural women and women who lacked not more than 3 years of insurance to meet conditions for age retirement. On the basis of the program, 10 women victims of domestic violence withdrew this incentive, i.e. all women who had applied. Besides usual documentation, victims of domestic violence should have submitted a certificate of their status (that they had been victims of domestic violence), issued by the authorised Centre for Social Work. In order to make this support as available as possible, the Employment Agency RS decided to consider certificates issued by the Police (because some victims of domestic violence are not registered in the Centres for Social Work, but in the Police). Our organisation did not only use the media (TV, radio stations, portals, printed and electronic media), but also the newly-developed online platform on our web site, the face book site of our organisation, as well as meetings organised for the purpose of it. Some of them were planned in the project, whereas, even though not planned, some of them we additionally organised with the aim of information availability to both employers and women victims of domestic violence (meetings with employers and victims in regions of Eastern Herzegovina and Bijeljina). Moreover, we used other projects to spread the information about the Public Call and we animated both women victims of domestic violence and employers to apply for it.
Activities:

A.1. Providing psycho-social support as well as multidisciplinary approach in combating domestic violence in Eastern Herzegovina
During 2018 “Zenski centar” put on record 147 interventions provided by psycho-social support. Those were mainly short-term interventions, e.g. after the act of violence when a woman wants to share her problem with someone and to relieve in that way, but she does not want to continue further with it, neither to Police, nor to Center for Social Work nor any other institution. The psychosocial support is given every work day 12 months a year.
Since the beginning of 2018, we have organized 36 meetings in six municipalities of Eastern Herzegovina, i.e. 6 in every municipality. The regular meetings were held every two months (February, April, June, August, October and December). Ever since the beginning of our common practice, institutions/organizations of the multidisciplinary team accepted invitations and attended these meetings.
A.2. Round-table meetings, lobbying and monitoring in adopting the ”Action Plan of Employment for RS for 2018” as well as the ”Program of (self) employment for RS for 2018”
From January until December, we had intense contacts with the minister of the Ministry of Labour and Veterans RS in order to fully follow and timely react if any obstruction arises in adopting the package of economic measures for women victims of domestic violence (for both 2018 and 2019). The obstruction happened eventually, but it was successfully solved with slightly decreased budget when compared to the previously intended one. There was resistance in employers and Trade Union at discussion with the Economy Committee RS, which preceded the National Assembly of the RS. The questions were raised if there was a possibility to abuse the status of a woman victim of domestic violence (so that someone who is not a victim submits a certificate in order to withdraw funds for self-employment or to obtain employment). Due to this, the announcement of the Public Call was slightly late, and therefore the time to inform victims of domestic violence was shortened (what can have a replica on the number of applied women victims of domestic violence). In order to inform as many women victims of domestic violence as possible, our organisation informed all 61 Centers for Social Work in the RS about the Public Call with a request to spread this information to all beneficiaries/women victims of domestic violence. With the aim of enabling availability of the Public Call to larger number of beneficiaries, the Employment Agency RS took into account certificates claiming the status of women victims of domestic violence issued even by Police and not only by Centers for Social Work. Overall 10 women victims of domestic violence used these funds for (self)employment. That is also the overall number of applicants, with all of them being enabled to be beneficiaries of the Program by the Employment Agency.
The round-table meeting in Banja Luka 27th April 2018, 16 participants

The round-table meeting was held on 27th April 2018 at hotel Bosna (Banjaluka) at 12 pm. The round-table meeting was realised in partnership between the Foundation ”Zenski centar” from Trebinje with the Foundation ”Lara” from Bijeljina. The participants were representatives of the Trade Union of RS, The Chamber of the Commerce and Industry of RS, the regional Chamber of the Commerce and Industry of the Banjaluka City, a representative of the Management Board of the Employment Agency RS, PhD Rajko Macura who is engaged in development of the new act of social entrepreneurship, which we still do not possess, and representatives of the few private companies.

The conclusion of the round-table meeting: The participants of the round-table meeting supported “The Action Plan of Employment for the Republic of Srpska for 2018”, particularly employment of women victims of domestic violence. They would make an effort, everyone in their own way, in their field of work to inform as many women as possible, and thus help them to become independent and empowered to leave the violent family. When the job advertisement was closed, if all the funds were not spared, there was a possibility to extend the advertisement period, what would be of great importance since it extended the period to animate as many employers as possible to use the possibility of incentives i.e. to employ as many women victims of domestic violence as possible. With the aim of animation as well as timely informing women victims of domestic violence, our organisations implemented the activities on purpose even though they were not intended by the project:
-”Ženski centar” Trebinje:

All women victims of domestic violence registered at ”Zenski Centar” Trebinje, who met conditions listed in the Public Call were contacted and informed about it, as well as that we were at their disposal for any additional information and support. Some of them used it, and we helped them obtain certificates (the Police did not have a notice that they can issue certificates, too) as well as steady communication with regional Employment Agencies, some employers as well as with the Centre for Social Work Trebinje before the closing date of the Public Call.
-”Lara” Bijeljina:
Within this activity, numerous meetings were held with women victims of domestic violence, potential beneficiaries of the Program. In accordance with that, a list of women was formed containing all required characteristics who meet conditions from the Public Call and who were interested in the Program, according to the records from the Centres for Social Work Bijeljina, legal counseling of the Foundation „Lara“ and the Safe House.

Therefore, the possibility for economic empowerment through this program was created for women victims of domestic violence in the Republic of Srpska.
Round-table meetings with trade unions on 31st October 2018 held in Banjaluka
At the round-table meetings there were representatives of trade unions of the RS, 8 of them, mainly supporting our activities although some of them regarded that there were other vulnerable groups which were not included in the program, and that the call should include other vulnerable categories, as well.

A.3. Social media and development of online platform
In accordance with the planned project activities, we have developed an online platform on our website and the Public call of the Employment Agency RS for (self)employment of women victims of domestic violence was posted on it. The link was shared with the partner organization “Lara” Bijeljina. During 2018, there were overall 4,828 different visitors on the website with overall 17,330 views. Moreover, the link was connected with our and the partner’s face book page. We shared all information regarding the conducted activities of our organization in terms of this issue on the web page.
On 20th April 2018 we held a press conference in Trebinje when we spread information about the Public call of the Employment Agency attracting great attention. Furthermore, we gave interviews to various media (RTRS; Herceg TV and Elta TV) concerning this matter. The information was taken over by numerous local portals while the Republic of Srpska Radio station entirely covered and broadcast a 45 minute program from our round-table meeting in Banjaluka

Through the conducted activities, in accordance with the planned timeframe, all outputs planned by the project were achieved:
1. Women victims of domestic violence have a quality chain of support by organizations and institutions in Eastern Herzegovina. This support includes: urgency in addressing, psycho-social support, legal aid and free of charge representation in court (we have developed cooperation with the Center for free legal aid), material help (food, clothes, hygiene, course books and stationery), financial support, help with (self) employment, involvement and connection of all necessary activists, person of “trust”, coordination and synchronization of activities with the aim of providing support, using resources of the Protocol signers (e.g. free preschool education for children victims of domestic violence) and so on.
2. Women victims of domestic violence have a possibility for (self) employment in the RS – Program of the RS Government for (self) employment of women victims of domestic violence. In 2018 overall 10 women victims of domestic violence achieved (self) employment, with 4 of them through self-employment and 6 of them were employed in the companies.
3. Women victims of domestic violence have an easy access to information concerning ongoing programs of economic support in 2018 aimed at their category – online platform, social media of the both partner organizations, media programs and articles.