Regional guidelines for risk assessment and risk management to prevent the recurrence and escalation of violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Dr. iur. Jasminka Džumhur; Meliha Sendić, Center of Women’s Rights, Bosnia and Herzegovina

In the Western Balkans and Turkey, legislative frameworks for the prevention of violence against women (VAW) do not always guarantee that women who suffer from violence are protected, especially in times of crisis. To effectively protect women, legislative frameworks need to be aligned with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), including the recommendations made by the CEDAW Committee and the Committee of the Parties to the Istanbul Convention for the continuous operation of the justice and protection systems during emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this regard, the “Regional Guidelines for Risk Assessment and Risk Management to Prevent Recurrence and Escalation of Violence Against Women” aim to support actors from the protection and justice sectors to minimize the escalation of violence and ensure the protection of victims, especially in times of crisis. The guidelines should also promote cross-border response planning, helping national actors anticipate potential increases of violence against women and have the capacity to deal with those increases.  

The guidelines are the result of a 2-year participatory process involving 100 representatives from institutions working in the protection systems in the region to identify gaps in the system of victims of VAW. It is also based on the integral regional research “Is justice failing women survivors of violence? Action-oriented recommendations for effective prevention, protection and prosecution in the Western Balkans and Turkey.” The guidelines are available in all the local languages of the region.

The document was developed by the Center of Women’s Rights within the UN Women’s regional programme on ending violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey "Implementing Norms, Changing Minds," funded by the European Union.

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