ABOUT THE ROMA CENTER FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN DAJE
The Roma Center for Women and Children Daje was founded in 2001 by women from Zemun polje, with the aim of asking the city authorities to introduce public transport on the section that connected the Roma settlement with the urban center, where a school, health center and other institutions were located, and where rapes often took place. After achieving their first success, the Roma women from the Center continued their active work to improve the rights of Roma women, to fight for a dignified life without violence and discrimination for every Roma woman.
The organization specializes in providing support services for Roma women who are at risk of or have experienced gender-based violence or discrimination. In 2019, the organization received a work license number: 484 to provide consultation services for women who have experienced violence through the SOS telephone.
The organization’s priority is to ensure and maintain continuity in the provision of specialized assistance and support services to Roma women who are at risk of violence or have experienced violence (SOS phone, legal support, psychosocial support and individual consultations). The organization provides individual services of psychosocial support to women who are at risk or have survived some form of violence, through the SOS telephone, as well as group workshops and educational work. We pay special attention to providing legal support, including obtaining personal documents, as well as supporting Roma women in exercising their guaranteed rights before competent institutions. The free SOS number 0800 002 007 is available to users from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., every working day, while the mobile number 063 340365 is available 24 hours a day, every day of the week.
A significant part of the organizational activities is aimed at mobilizing Roma women to actively participate in the fight for their rights, as well as increasing social awareness and informing local, national and international actors in the fields of gender equality and inclusion of Roma man and Roma women, as well as the wider public, about the challenges and difficulties faced by Roma women in our country. The organization recognized the importance of engaging in public advocacy activities for the rights of Roma women, and in 2018 created the Public Advocacy Strategy for the period 2018 – 2022. The basic advocacy activities of the organization are focused on beneficiaries and the Roma community, in relation to gender-based violence and women’s and girls rights in Serbia, with a special emphasis on forced underage communities. Advocacy activities with the aim of improving the rights and position of Roma women are aimed at local decision-makers, as well as at national bodies and state institutions, relevant ministries, as well as at the EU and international reference bodies for monitoring the rights of women and national minorities.
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT IN 2022
The position of Roma women in Serbia is still quite unfavorable and Roma women and girls face gender-based violence, discrimination and other conditions that threaten their health and safety (such as living in illegal accommodation, without access to infrastructure and telecommunications, attacks by members of extremist groups group and others). Poverty, low level of education and economic independence, along with the lack of identity documents, are major obstacles to the autonomy of Roma women. The institutional response to the needs and problems of Roma women can be assessed as insufficiently effective – Roma women are exposed to prejudice and discrimination in institutions, as a result of which it is difficult for them to exercise their rights. Employees in social welfare institutions, the police, prosecutor’s offices, but also in health care institutions and educational institutions, are still not sufficiently sensitized to work with Roma women and girls and do not know the Roma cultural and social context, and show little motivation for dealing with these topics. This is why it still happens that serious cases of violation of the human rights of Roma women, such as forced (child) marriage, are treated as part of the Roma tradition and go without adequate institutional reaction and support.
However, we would like to point out some positive developments when it comes to the situation of Roma women in our country. Roma women, thanks to the intensive and long-term field work of women’s Roma organizations, are increasingly empowered to fight for their rights and to stop the transgenerational patterns of normalization of violence. An increasing number of Roma women are informed about (non-governmental) support services for women who have suffered gender-based violence or discrimination and are more willing to ask for support. Also, the awareness of Roma women about the importance of education and economic independence is increasing, and Roma women are increasingly interested in the possibility of completing primary and secondary education, as well as professional training for various trades.
When it comes to child and forced marriages, which represent a serious violation of children’s and human rights, and are closely related to human trafficking, there is a shift in the awareness of the professional public and decision-makers about this problem. The National Coalition for Ending Child Marriage, which brings together representatives of authorities, institutions and civil society organizations, is working to eradicate this harmful practice through various activities. Although the path to achieving this goal is complex and long, it is of great importance that representatives of different jurisdictions, including representatives of women’s Roma organizations, have come together to solve this problem.
What we would also like to point out is that decision-makers in Serbia approach the problems of Roma women without a substantial interest in solving them, and advocacy for the improvement of the position of Romani women usually remains at the declarative level, but a positive change in the approach of certain bodies and institutions can be observed. For example, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, representatives of gender equality offices at municipalities, recognize female Roma organizations as important partners in the work to improve the position of Roma women in Serbia.
SUPPORT SERVICES FOR WOMEN EXPERIENCING GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
Roma Center for Women and Children Daje provides support services for Roma women who are at risk or have experience of male violence, as well as information services for beneficiaries and indirect target groups – families and communities where the beneficiary lives, about domestic and gender-based violence, discrimination and safety. as well as the mechanisms of realization and protection of basic rights. All services provided by the organization are free of charge. The organization’s SOS team consists of a team coordinator, two SOS consultants, a lawyer and two psychologists.
0800 002 007 is available to users every working day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., while the mobile number 063 340 365 is available 24 hours a day, every day of the week.
The phone numbers for psychological support are 063 552 261 and 063 553 667 , available every working day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The phone number for legal support is 063 553 538 , available every working day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The website of the association is: https://romadaje.org/
The Facebook page of the association is: https://www.facebook.com/RomskiCentarDaje
During the reporting period, the organization provided the following services:
- Consultations with women who have experienced violence through the SOS telephone. The consultation service for women who have experienced violence through the SOS telephone was licensed in 2019 (License No. 484). The free SOS number is available to users five days a week, from Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. During 2023, a total of 219 users called the SOS number, that is, 244 SOS consultation services were provided.
- Individual consultations for women with experience of gender-based violence, which are scheduled and held in the organization’s space – during the reporting period, 47 individual consultation services were provided, which were provided to 32 women.
- Legal information and provision of legal assistance are services that 38 beneficiaries received during the reporting period.
- Representation of the interests of beneficiaries in institutions is a service provided by 18 beneficiaries.
The whole Annual report on this link: shorturl.at/zDEV4