The Advocates for Human Rights, along with Autonomous Women’s House Zagreb (AZKZ), submitted a shadow report on domestic violence in Croatia for the 61st session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
Croatia has failed to meet international and internal standards on the protection of women from domestic violence, which remains a widespread problem. Not all women are protected under the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence, and funding for shelters is inadequate and insecure. By arresting and charging female victims, Croatia’s laws treat victims as criminals and deter women from reporting violence. Requiring medical certificates creates a significant barrier for criminal prosecutions, and judges do not always order safety measures under the Criminal Code or precaution measures under the Misdemeanor Act that could protect victims. Violations of protective measures and punishments under the LPDV are not adequately enforced, and Croatia’s programs to treat perpetrators of violence are untested, unaccountable, and often unavailable. Croatia’s new Family Law places victims and their children at risk, due to mandatory mediation in divorce cases and requiring parents to cooperate in raising their children. Appeals suspend protective measures when they are needed most, after the victim has chosen to separate from her abuser, and police fail to appeal denials of protective measure requests. Legal aid procedures are complicated and limit access to legal support, and Croatia’s laws force women to choose between seeking prosecution and seeking protection.
Recommendations to the Government of Croatia:
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