KWN Releases Report on the Response of Justice Providers to Domestic Violence

From June to September 2009, KWN researched the response of justice providers to domestic violence in Kosova, contracted by the UNDP’s Women’s Safety and Security Initiative (WSSI) and supported by the Agency for Gender Equality in the Prime Minister’s Office (AGE). The research sought to support the Government of Kosova and lawmakers in drafting and later enforcing the National Action Plan against Domestic Violence and the new Law on Protection against Domestic Violence. The research focused on the justice system in Kosova with special attention to the implementation of legislation on domestic violence.

On September 22, more than 70 people participated in a workshop entitled “Access to Justice for Domestic Violence Victims” held at Villa Gërmia in Prishtina. Among the participants were officials from the centers for social work, shelters, municipal courts, regional courts, Kosova Police, Victims’ Advocacy and Assistance Division and Ministry of Internal Affairs, among others. In three working groups based on expertise, participants discussed the report’s draft recommendations. Groups focused on three sections of the report: protection against domestic violence; the Kosova Police; and safeguarding victims’ rights and access to justice. Recommendations made by the working groups were included in the final report.

On November 23, the final report entitled More than “Words on Paper”? The Response of Justice Providers to Domestic Violence in Kosova was publicly released at the Government of Kosova.

The report drew from existing data, interviews with more than 60 representatives of institutions and in-depth interviews with 96 domestic violence victims about their experiences accessing justice. The report makes recommendations to inform the drafting of the new Law on Protection against Domestic Violence, National Strategy and Action Plan against Domestic Violence, other legislation governing the prosecution of crimes committed in family relationships, operational procedures and the work of institutions responsible for ensuring access to justice.

The report assesses the performance of judges in delivering protection against domestic violence through mechanisms such as protection orders and penal prosecution of acts of domestic violence. It examines the work of the Kosova Police in investigating acts of domestic violence and protecting victims from further violence. The report assesses the work of institutions and organizations responsible for protecting the rights of victims while they seek justice. Finally, it discusses citizens’ perceptions of the justice system, which may impact decisions to seek justice or remain silent. The report concludes with recommendations for policymakers and individual institutions towards improving access to justice for domestic violence victims.

The report is available on KWN’s website.