OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

07/08/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/08/2019 06:17

OSCE presents results of Survey on the Well-being and Safety of Women in Montenegro

PODGORICA, 8 July 2019 - The OSCE Mission in Montenegro and the OSCE Gender Section presented today the results of an OSCE survey that shows that social norms and attitudes contribute to gender inequality and violence against women, in the premises of the parliament during the 35th session of the Gender Equality Committee. The survey also showed that there is a sound legal framework for combating violence against women in Montenegro, but that it needs to be updated and fully implemented.

The Survey on the Well-being and Safety of Women is the first of its kind conducted in South-Eastern and Eastern Europe. It gives a detailed picture of the physical, sexual and psychological violence suffered by women and girls in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The survey was also conducted in Kosovo.

The study was conducted within the framework of an EU-funded project implemented in spring and summer 2018. In Montenegro, the research involved a representative survey of 1,227 women aged 18 to 74, 15 key expert interviews, eight focus group discussions and four in-depth interviews with women who had experienced violence.

The Head of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro, Maryse Daviet, said that the results of the survey will not only increase awareness and understanding of the problem, but will also contribute to improving national policymaking and the assistance provided to victims.

'It should be noticed that a number of steps have been taken by the Montenegrin authorities to align laws and policies with international standards in the area of promoting gender equality and combating violence against women. Nevertheless, by reflecting on the results of the survey, it becomes clear that we should all work together to strengthen synergetic actions and further contribute to gender equality and effectively end violence against women,' said Daviet.

The Head of the European (EU) Delegation to Montenegro, Aivo Orav, said that a lot of women who have experienced violence have never told anyone, whether that be the police, health services, a friend, neighbour or colleague. 'Disclosed violence is only a fraction of the reality. The EU calls for a zero-tolerance approach towards violence, encourages victims to speak out and calls on politicians to act as responsible role models in preventing and combating sexual harassment,' said Orav.

Nada Drobnjak, President of the Committee for Gender Equality of the Parliament of Montenegro, said that violence against women is not an individual problem, but a problem of the entire society. 'We try to move it from the private sphere, where it is predominantly kept, and show that it is the problem of all people, that violence against one woman must concern the whole society,' said Drobnjak, adding that the OSCE-led study should be considered as an additional call to action to Montenegrin institutions.

Presenting the survey findings, Serani Siegel, Project Manager in the Gender Section of the Office of the OSCE Secretary General, said that the impact of violence can be severe and long-lasting.

'Psychological consequences, such as anxiety and loss of confidence, were experienced by around half of women who have ever had a partner who was violent towards them. Yet only few women contact specific services after experiencing violence. This may be linked to the still widespread belief that domestic violence is a private matter that should be kept within the family. Attitudes, norms, and beliefs that justify violence against women need to be tackled at their root, as they continue to perpetuate this grave human rights violation,' said Siegel.