At its session held on Friday 27 September 2019, the National Assembly of the Republika Srpska unanimously adopted the Bill Amending the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence.

Citizens’ Association Buducnost has been protecting women and children victims of violence since its inception, and through practice has a clear picture of the shortcomings in the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence, and tries to point out necessary changes to what does not work.

What we are particularly proud of is the fact that all the initiatives to amend the law have been adopted, proposed by member of Parliament Gordana Vidovic, the woman who founded the Buducnost in 1996, believing in a better tomorrow for all victims of violence.

Gordana also took the opportunity, when discussing the draft Law on Court Fees, to indicate that the fee for a divorce lawsuit of 200 BAM, as well as the fees for judgments, should be abolished because they are too high, and the Minister of JusticeAnton Kasipovic himself said that her suggestion will be adopted. 

And what do the adopted amendments to the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence really mean?

The protection of victims of domestic violence is raised to a higher level, through a stricter response of the society to the perpetrators of violence, and by prosecuting them only in criminal proceedings, thus eliminating the parallel possibility of punishing the perpetrator of domestic violence by a criminal offense.

An obligation is imposed on all protection entities to inform the victim, in an understandable way, of all the rights he or she has under this and other laws, and to the institutions, bodies, legal entities and organizations providing assistance, support and protection, as well as the obligation to each report of domestic violence, assesses the risk of recurrence of violence and plans, in accordance with this assessment, to take the necessary actions and measures to prevent the perpetrator from repeating the violence and to protect the victim.

The law emphasizes the obligation of all protection entities to cooperate in the best interests of the victim in the process of protection, assistance and support for victims of domestic violence, and to conclude treatment protocols and establish a coordination and cooperation group at the level of the local self-government unit from representatives of all institutions, bodies and  organizations that provide protection, assistance and support to victims of domestic violence.

It also introduces the right of the victim to accompany a person he / she trusts in undertaking all actions in the procedures in which the victim exercises his / her rights, that is, the obligation on the subjects of protection to allow the presence of this person.

The circle of persons who need protection under the provisions of this law has been expanded.

All these amendments will positively affect the social inclusion of victims of domestic violence and reduce the violation of their constitutional and statutory fundamental human rights.