Arberi

Victims of domestic violence, without shelter and without financial stability

In the first three months of the year, 698 cases of domestic violence were reported, in which 573 of the victims were women. After the violence they experience, they spend some time in regional shelters, but many of them are forced to return to the families where they experienced the violence. The challenge for victims continues to be long-term residence, employment, and especially reintegration into society

Seven women and 9 children victims of domestic violence currently have the Center for the Protection of Women and Children in Prishtina as their only shelter address, where they can legally stay for up to six months only.

One of the victims who, together with her children, experienced physical and psychological violence from her husband and his family members, says that in the absence of support from the state several times she was forced to return to the abuser.

"The failure to resolve has affected me and forced me together with my children. The family of my ex-husband came back to me for the first time and for the second time and for the third time", said the woman who, together with her children, is accommodated in the center in Pristina.

The center is a temporary address for women and children subjected to domestic violence. 

Its director, Zana Hamiti, says that the victims face many challenges, after six months they can stay in the shelter that she runs.

"The most challenging part is their reintegration into society, after the violence or precisely after the shelter. It is a little difficult. Still, these components are not being worked on as much as they should", said Hamiti. "The biggest help that should be given to the victims in order not to victimize them, is not to return to the abuser again, it is their reintegration and social housing".

Only the Municipality of Pristina has offered a subsidy of up to 500 euros per month to cover the rent costs for the victim.

Director Hamiti says that even this effort has been accompanied by barriers.

"The victim herself does not have the means to pay the rent for two or three months until it is well organized, then make a notarized contract and apply for subsidies", she emphasized. "One of the criteria is that the victim himself must find the apartment, make a contract with the notary, and this part is not easy, especially for the victims who are still sheltered here and the shelter has to fix this challenge, it is presenting some problems" .

In Kosovo, shelters operate only in the regions. Thus, the victims of domestic violence, as well as those of five other municipalities, are systematized in that of Pristina. 

In the Kosovo Women's Network, they complain that the municipalities do not provide sufficient financial support for these centers.

"So, not all of them consider it important to budget for shelters and support the shelter, therefore, we often had situations where the shelters were at risk of being closed for several months or for a time, which still affected the high vulnerability of women , which need shelter", said Adelina Berisha, activist in the Kosovo Women's Network.

E, one of the victims who is with her children in the shelter in Pristina, has told about the neglect and lack of interest that the institutions showed when she faced the violence.

"He (the ex-husband vj) caused me and my children trauma, shock, in which case I went to the police... The police when I went for the first time reported the case, and also Social , they told me: 'Don't expect from us, don't expect from us'. Who am I waiting for? I don't have a family", she says.

This victim, although currently sheltered, has one concern – she doesn't know where to go after spending six months in the center.

"I don't have a choice, I don't have a place of residence, I don't have self-employment, I can't take my son and my children to daycare. I have no choice but to shelter. The shelter is for a short time, it is not long term. I am ready to work, I am ready to take my children to school, to daycare, but I have no support", she complained.

Based on Police statistics, 698 cases of domestic violence were reported in the January-March period of this year, in which 573 of the victims are women.