ZAGREB, January 13, 2019 – The Croatian government should withdraw its reservations on the Istanbul Convention’s articles regulating civil lawsuits, remedies and compensation for victims so that the document does not remain a dead letter, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Women’s Forum said on Saturday.
Speaking at a press conference, they said they were asking a key question: Is there political will that the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, which Croatia ratified, should not remain a dead letter?
Forum president Maja Sporiš said perpetrators were not the only ones responsible for the violence because the state was responsible too. She said the government opted to put a reservation on the Convention’s articles 29 and 30 which regulated civil lawsuits, remedies and compensation for victims.
Sporiš recalled that Article 30 states that “adequate state compensation shall be awarded to those who have sustained serious bodily injury or impairment of health, to the extent that the damage is not covered by other sources such as the perpetrator, insurance or State‐funded health and social provisions. This does not preclude Parties from claiming regress for compensation awarded from the perpetrator, as long as due regard is paid to the victim’s safety.”
Sporiš recalled that victims were entitled to compensation also under Croatia’s 2013 law on monetary compensation for victims of crimes. She said the only data available showed that 44,000 kuna was paid by the end of 2015, without specifying to whom. She wondered if victims were even aware of such options.
Danijela Vukoša, president of the Forum’s Zadar branch, said statistics showed that one in five perpetrators was punished and only 7% were sent to prison.
Between 2010 and 2017, 156 women were killed in Croatia, including 114 by husbands, partners, former husbands or partners, or close persons. Eighteen women were killed in 2018 alone, Vukoša said, adding that femicide accounts for 25-30% of all murders in the country and that 47% of perpetrators have a history of violence.
SDP Presidency member Ivana Posavac Krivec said funding for safe houses was insufficient and that victims were at the mercy of local governments, which set aside between 0.01 and 0.16% of their budgets for safe houses. She said it was also necessary to open more safe houses, describing the situation as alarming, and accused counties of being unable to withdraw European funds.
More news on the Istanbul Convention implementation in Croatia can be found in our Politics section.