Within the Women, Peace and Security project, the next informal meeting was held between the women of the community and the municipal institutions in the Municipality of Prizren, in cooperation with the Office for Gender Equality of this Municipality. The main purpose of the meeting was to inform the women about the work of the Local Coordinating Mechanism against Domestic Violence and the work of the Municipality in general for gender equality and the fight against gender-based violence.
The meeting was attended by various institutions, such as the Municipality of Prizren, the Police unit dedicated to countering domestic violence, the Center for Social Work, the Agency for Free Legal Aid, the Safehouse of Prizren, members of civil society, and residents of the Municipality.
During the meeting, the significance of effective coordination among institutions involved in addressing gender-based violence in the Municipality was emphasized. The exchange of information between these institutions was also highlighted as crucial. A major challenge faced by the Center for Social Work, similar to other municipalities, was the insufficient number of staff and social workers. This limitation hampers efficient work and restricts the provision of services to all segments of society.
The representatives from the Center for Social Work provided a comprehensive explanation of the entire procedure for handling cases of gender-based violence. They outlined the necessary steps to be taken by all institutions and discussed the protective and assistance measures offered by their institution to the residents of the municipality. Furthermore, they urged the reporting of violence cases as soon as they occur, as reports are often delayed despite prolonged experiences of violence.
The Center for Social Work also addressed the issue of social assistance for survivors of violence. It was identified as problematic that survivors who seek shelter in safehouses have their social assistance, provided by the state, cut off. The budgetary constraints faced by the shelters were recognized as another significant problem faced by the Municipality.
The Agency for Free Legal Aid elaborated on the procedures for accessing free legal assistance. They encouraged all participants to benefit from this opportunity, as it is available to all survivors of domestic violence regardless of their economic status.
Kosovar Center for Security Studies (KCSS) is supported by the Kosovo Foundation for Civil Society (KCSF) program 'EJA Kosovo', co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Sweden and the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.