Active Women Advocate to End Domestic Violence

Active Women of Gjakova (AWG), an NGO and KWNmember, is working towards implementing the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence. They are working with girls and women of different ethnicities, especially Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians, to ensure domestic violence is treated justly and as per the full extent of the law in Kosovo.
     Although the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence (Nr.03/L182) sets a fairly comprehensive framework for dealing with domestic violence in the country, it is not yet fully implemented.  Women and youth still do not have equal access to protection against violence, and the system for providing information about the assistance available remains inefficient. This is especially salient for Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians.
     “We are aware that domestic violence does happen to well educated women, that stand well economically also, and we’re willing to work with women from different communities and backgrounds. But, as we’ve noticed from our everyday work, the biggest number of women who seek help in our NGO for domestic violence issues belong to Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities; few have attended school, and they have bad economic conditions,” said Valbona Rizvanolli, AWG Executive Director. Thus, AWG has undertaken an initiative to provide information sessions on topics including domestic violence in general, the laws that pertain to domestic violence and strategies for monitoring Gjakova Municipality’s implementation of the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence.
     Additionally, they have worked on publishing a monitoring report on the implementation of this Law, including with findings and recommendations. “It’s very important to have such lectures with women from our community, but also with their husbands, children and other family members,” said Tabe Maliqi, a member of the community. “Their family members should also be informed about the consequences they will face in case they carry out violence against others within their families.”
     By organizing these activities, AWG aims to ensure that the existing laws for protection against domestic violence are applied and enforced in Gjakova. It also seeks to help women become more aware about the law and their rights under it.
     “After the workshop, I will see the effect of the lecture,” said Sakibe Doli, Executive Director of the Safe House in Gjakova, which shelters women and children who have suffered violence. Previously, in other neighborhoods and villages where we have held such lectures, the effect has always been immediate. Their awareness was increased and they undertook actions to stop domestic violence perpetrated against them.”

     AWG’s work has been made possible through a grant from the KWN Kosovo Women’s Fund, supported by the Austrian Development Agency and Kvinna till Kvinna.