Essential services: analysis of the access to support services (health, police and justice and social services) for women belonging to marginalised groups who have experienced violence
Violence against women constitutes a widespread form of human rights violation which is harmful to individuals and families but also to the society in its entirety. When speaking about the prevention of and response to violence against women, including domestic violence, it is a problem that affects the entire population regardless of wealth, ethnic or religious background, education, place of residence. In Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), almost every second woman over the age of 15 has been exposed to some form of violence in her lifetime, committed by both intimate partners and other family members. However, the issue of assistance and access to support services, e.g. health, police and justice, social services for women and girls who have experienced violenceis connected to hierarchy and their position in the society. In practice, assistance and support are not available equally to everyone. Marginalised groups of women in BiH (Roma women, women with disabilities, rural women, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and older women) are relegated to the margins when it comes to the prevention of and response to violence against women. The purpose of this research is to investigate the current situation, how familiar womenare with reporting mechanisms and where to access support services, and, in particular, how women belonging to marginalised groups are accessing these services. Furthermore, the research also aims to see if there is potential for strengthening the institutional framework and action of civil society in responding to violence against women who belong to marginalised groups.