GJAKOVA, 11 September 2019 – In a city that has already seen 90 reported cases of domestic violence this year, residents of all ages were exposed to an exhibition detailing the problem and offering helpful resources in Gjakova today.
Shtëpia e Sigurtë and Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) cooperated to bring “Break the Silence: Ending Violence Behind Walls” to the town square “Nëna Terezë” this afternoon and evening. The three-dimensional structure walked visitors through displays of information, experiences and effects of violence that can hide in the private lives of people anywhere.
“Our MPs have voted for the Istanbul Convention, which highlights the role of shelters and the duties and obligations they have to support their work financially”, said Sakibe Doli from Shtëpia e Sigurtë shelter in Gjakova. “So we call on the MPs we elected to carry out their duties through monitoring, and to support the work of the shelters”.
According to official data from the Kosovo Police, in 90% of reported cases the victims are women.
“Domestic violence continues to be a problem affecting Kosovar society”, said Adelina Berisha from KWN. “Through this exhibition we want to show you the feeling of a home where violence is being used. This way we can all have a better understanding of the suffering of each victim”.
Berisha added, “We want to inform every citizen of Kosovo of the assistance they can ask from local institutions, and where they can complain if these institutions fail to provide services to victims of domestic violence”.
The traveling exhibition is part of a KWN awareness campaign that has been showcased in municipalities across the country since June. It will continue for several months at a range of locations. The aim is to raise awareness of different forms of domestic violence and to provide citizens with specific information about local support institutions and how to contact them. Visitors also were reminded of their legal obligation to report domestic violence and support its victims.
Luke Perlalaj, Kosovo Police investigator from the local Domestic Violence Unit, offered insights into alarming statistics. He told the gathered crowd that reports of domestic violence have been increasing recently.
“Maybe we are raising awareness and that is causing us to receive so many reports today,” Perlalaj said. “Maybe the use of domestic violence has increased, but official datas show that this number has truly increased”.
A representative of the Kosovo Police Inspectorate in Gjakova told the audience about resources available to victims of violence.
“We have various complaint opportunities where you can report cases of domestic violence”, said Bajram Fetahu. He mentioned the website https://ipk.rks-gov.net/forma-per-ankesa/ and added, “or even go to the nearest police station”.
Other speakers giving opening remarks at the exhibition were Elvane Shehu, social worker at the Center for Social Work in Gjakova; Judge Iliriana Hoti; and prosecutor Dëshirë Jusaj.
For more information, see the exhibition booklet HERE.