Free SOS line for victims of domestic violence introduced in Montenegro

    Podgorica, Montenegro (9 September 2015) — Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, UNDP Office in Podgorica and EU Delegation to Montenegro organised earlier today a press conference on the occasion of introducing a free SOS line for victims of domestic violence.

    “The goal of the campaign is to inform citizens about the availability of national helpline for victims of domestic violence, motivate them to use it and raise confidence in the systematic approach of state institutions when it comes to providing protective measures,” Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Zorica Kovačević underlined.

    According to Minister Kovačević, the introduction of the 080 / 111-111 line is being implemented through the state institutions’ partnership with the EU, UNDP and non-governmental sector, thus demonstrating the Ministry’s commitment to achieving the highest standards of social protection.

    Minister Kovačević stated that Montenegro has made notable progress in advancing the system of protection against domestic violence. She recalled that in 2011, there were 507 reported cases of domestic violence, while last year there were 1.347.

    “This means the number of reports in the 3-year period has increased by 166%”, she pointed out, explaining the data does not suggest there is more violence in the country, but rather that a favourable legal framework had been created and that victims are more decisive in reporting violence and addressing state institutions.

    The Labour Minister explained the line is anonymous and free for calls from any network in Montenegro and is available 24 hours a day.

    Domestic violence is not a private matter, but an issue the entire society has to tackle. It is the government’s job to provide a protection system, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro Fiona McCluney pointed out, recalling that the data show that one in three women in Montenegro was subjected to some form of domestic violence.

    She underscored that patriarchal attitudes and behaviour patterns still pervade the Montenegrin society, therefore, additional efforts need to be made in order to change the entire social environment.

    Mrs McCluney emphasised that the SOS line for victims of domestic violence is a link in the chain of multi-disciplinary support for the victims, whether it comes to women, children, the elderly or men.

    Head of the EU Delegation in Montenegro Mitja Drobnič said that although good laws are key to ending violence against women, it is necessary to determine the root problem as no country is immune to this problem.

    “Our task is to strengthen victims and support them in achieving competence and regaining control over their lives guided by principles of respect for their autonomy and integrity,” the Head of the EU Delegation pointed out.

    Source: Government of Montenegro