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Press release regarding domestic violence case in Ulcinj

On 18 April 2013 the media published the story about a mother and a child from Ulcinj who were thrown out of their home by their husband and father. It is, sadly, another in a series of inadequate responses of institutions to the problem of violence against women and children.

The information provided by the media – that the victim is a foreign citizen whose husband tore up her personal documents and then threw her and their daughter out in the street clearly points out to the incident of family violence. The duty of the relevant institutions from Ulcinj was to react promptly and implement the legal provisions applicable to this case.  The Law on Protection from Domestic Violence prescribes measures for victim protection, including police order for removal of the perpetrator from home, which is applied on the spot, as well as the protective measure of removal of the perpetrator from the dwelling which can be issued within 48 hours by the misdemeanor authorities.

Therefore, we find the reaction of the Center for Social Welfare from Ulcinj and their director Mehmet Duraku scandalous, demonstrating their ignorance about the legal procedures they are obliged to follow, such as the obligation to report the suspicion of violence and to coordinate the victims protection procedures.

Their statement: “The court case is still ongoing and our hands are tied in a way . However, it is obvious that the situation escalated in the recent days, with the elements of a criminal offense relating to the violation of the rights of the child ” does not indicate the coordinated response of the institutions or that the police suggested any of the available protective measures. Besides, the announcement of initiating the responsibility of both parents reveals a discriminatory attitude towards a woman who is a victim of violence, who has, despite the obvious fact that she is the victim, received the same treatment as the perpetrator of violence. Note that the expulsion of a woman and a child from the apartment is a violation of law on several bases.

We demand the immediate and united reaction of the competent Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Police, prosecutors and misdemeanor authorities in order to establish basis for initiating proceedings against the perpetrators of family violence. We also demand that the woman and a child are returned to their home immediately.

We are reminding that the conduct of the institutions in this case is a violation of the provisions of the Convention of the Council of Europe on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, which was ratified by Montenegro on March the 1st 2013.  This Convention legally obliges Montenegrin Government to ensure that the public authorities, officials, institutions and other actors who act on behalf of the state to act in accordance with the requirements set by the Convention, which apply to all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence.

In accordance with the Article 70 of the Convention, we urge the Parliament of Montenegro to take part in monitoring the measures taken in its application.

Women's Rights Center

Maja Raicevic , Executive Director

SOS Hotline for Women and Children Victims of Violence Niksic

Natasha Međedović , executive coordinator

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