The coordinator of the SOS service of the Organization …IZ KRUGA — VOJVODINA, Ivana Zelic, and the consultant on the SOS phone Miladinka Mijatovic, participated in an online training on the topic of combating sexual violence against women. The organizer of the training is WAVE (European network of women’s organizations active in the fight against violence against women). The training was held on February 17 and 18, from 10 am to 2 pm via the Zoom application.
The aim of the training is to strengthen the capacity of women’s NGOs and other advocacy actors, in order to improve policies, expand knowledge and co-operate on sexual violence in the Western Balkans and Turkey.
On the first day of the training, the participants were introduced to the standards of good practice that are applied in providing support to women victims of sexual violence. The training was led by Dr Cliona Saidlear, Executive Director of the Irish Rape Crisis Centers Network (RCNI), who spoke on the application of standards in working with victims of sexual violence. The organization works to gather evidence and expertise to represent the interests of victims and apply the best answers to prevent sexual violence. On the first day of the training, the contributions of specialized NGOs, centers for sexual violence, police and government were presented, with an introduction to the existing guidelines and policies that define these different roles and responsibilities.
On the second day of the training, the standards of good practice applied in the centers for sexual violence in Serbia were presented. The trainers of the second day of training were: Biljana Stepanov, director of the Center for Support of Women, Danica Todorov, coordinator of the Center for Victims of Sexual Violence in Novi Sad, Stevan Milatovic, gynecologist and member of the working group of the Center for Victims of Sexual Violence in Novi Sad and Radoslava Aralica, local coordinator and member of the working group of the Center for Victims of Sexual Violence in Zrenjanin. The trainers introduced the participants to the work of the Center for Victims of Sexual Violence in Serbia, as a unique example of practice, which combines two types of services from the social and health systems, in order to fully protect women victims of sexual violence.
In 2018, the organization …IZ KRUGA — VOJVODINA, within the project Improving Support to Women with Disabilities, which was implemented with the support of UN WOMEN, and with the financial support of the European Commission, developed Guidelines for health workers in situations of violence against women with disabilities. The guidelines apply to the Centers for Victims of Sexual Violence. The key topic of the seminar was the recognition of the specifics of the way in which rights are exercised, that is, they meet the needs of women with disabilities who have experienced domestic violence, with an emphasis on sexual violence. The first part of the seminar covered the topics of recognizing stereotypes and intersectional discrimination against women with disabilities, terminology, etiquette and models of disability. The second part of the seminar focused on the role of women with disabilities in different areas of life, the barriers they face and the specifics of the violence to which they are exposed.
In Serbia, as a result of the Stop — Protect — Help project, seven centers for victims of sexual violence have been established at general hospitals (in Novi Sad, Subotica, Sremska Mitrovica, Vrsac, Zrenjanin, Kikinda and Sombor). The implementers of the project are the Provincial Secretariat for Health in cooperation with the Center for Support of Women. Participants were also introduced to the ways and standards that the centers apply in their work, as well as the challenges and obstacles that professionals face in providing these services.
The ultimate goal of the training is to improve the readiness of service providers to provide support to victims of sexual violence, by promoting standards of good practice, which have already been established by other countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey.