SOS Nikšić_saradnja sa centrima i policijom

SOS Niksic: Cooperation with centers and the police

SOS Centre Niksic for protecting women from gender-based violence and domestic violence most often communicates with social work centers and the police. For successful protection, close cooperation is of essential importance. Particularly important is the cooperation with the police, especially in the segment concerning successful risk assessment and safety plan preparation.

Namely, women’s NGOs are the only ones that provide the service of confidant escort, in accordance with the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence. Confidants often work with women survivors over a longer period, sometimes even several years, and the survivors have the most trust in them. Consequently, confidants can provide the best and most reliable information about the survivors. They can help survivors provide quality statements which are a prerequisite for effective protection and proper punishment of perpetrators. Ultimately, this could be crucial for a successful multidisciplinary response in protecting victims of violence, and it is an obligation of Montenegro in accordance with the Istanbul Convention, as well as Montenegrin legislation and the Protocol on Conduct, Prevention, and Protection from Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.

In practice, this resource is rarely used. Namely, police officers, instead of seeing confidants as partners, perceive them as an intruder. They do not offer this option to women survivors who come to them without a confidant. They also do not contact women’s NGOs and confidants to collect additional information and gain a more comprehensive insight into the situation. They do not have the practice of consulting with confidants when women survivors come to the police station. Confidants’ reaction to non-implementation of all procedures is perceived as a personal interaction instead of as an opportunity to improve practices for better protection of victims.

Still, confidants were recognized as one of the key services in the protection of victims of violence through the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence 14 years ago. That the service is being marginalized is demonstrated by the lack of established standards or regulations for its operation.
To overcome this, SOS Centre Niksic, in cooperation with relevant entities (Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, and the Safe Women’s House) is currently working on the Draft Regulation with standards for providing the service of a confidant.