Twelve women participated in a workshop on “Preventing gender-based violence” on April 30, 2015, aimed at young women at risk of violence or those working with young people at risk of violence. The half-day workshop was organized in collaboration with the NGOs Info Zona and League for the Prevention of Addiction from Split.

From 3 to 8 p.m., the workshop leaders Paula Zore, professor of history and comparative literature and Laura Marković, psychologist and counselor, familiarized the participants with the issue of gender-based violence, with the emphasis on sexual violence.

The workshop also dealt with gender-based violence and the consequences of sexual violence and deconstructed the myths and prejudices that stand in the way to a zero tolerance society. The participants also watched the video titled “Ask for consent!” and learned about the Rules of Procedures in Cases of Sexual Violence and legal practices for prosecuting sexual violence.

Half-day workshops are an integral part of the “My Voice against Violence” project of the Office for Gender Equality of the Croatian Government, which is financially supported by the European Union (as part of the Program for Employment and Social Solidarity—PROGRESS). Two partner organizations in the project are the Women’s Room—Center for Sexual Rights and CESI—Center for Education, Counseling and Research.

On April 29, 2015, the “Youth in the Labor Market” panel was held in a packed hall of Green Action in Zagreb. The panel featured a presentation of results of an eponymous study conducted by the members of the Ready to Work initiative that operates within the CESI—Center for Education, Counseling and Research.

The speakers were the Gender Equality Ombudswoman Višnja Ljubičić, Assistant Minister of Labor and Pension System Tatjana Dalić, and members of the initiative and study authors Anja Repalist and Irena Velimirović.

Višnja Lubić opened her presentation by clarifying that discrimination against women isn’t a problem only in Croatia, but also in other EU countries. She emphasized that discrimination against women denies them the right to live and work free of violence, coercion, and fear as well as the right to secure employment. In 2014, most complaints made to the Ombudswoman’s Office were in relation to age discrimination and discrimination against mothers. An increasing trend of complaints about sexual harassment, especially in the workplace was also noted. She also pointed out that in the last 7 years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of employment contracts—in 2008, it was 81%, but rose to 94.2% in 2014. She concluded her presentation with the results of a study co-organized by the Gender Equality Ombudswoman and the RODA—Parents in Action NGO, showing that 55.3% of mothers lose their jobs. Ljubičić emphasized that women should be given the opportunity to achieve the balance between work and family as her suggestion on how to improve the status of women in the labor market and employment. She also pointed up that fathers should be encouraged to take paternity leave because the pervasive discrimination against women in employment is directly affecting the country’s declining birth rate.

Tatjana Dalić briefly introduced the Youth Guarantee. She also pointed out that she was personally particularly bothered by a sexist question which is rarely or never addressed to men, which is how do they manage to balance family and work. She thinks that the society has reached the stage of development where men and women can equally participate in household and family duties. She reported that according to results available to the Ministry of Labor and Pension System, the graduate unemployment rate was only 11.9%, but also added that every 7th young person was unemployed. She pointed out that as a youth employment measure, the vocational training without employment was unfortunately just a substitute for a failure of the education system.

Anja Repalust presented the findings of the “Youth in the labor market” survey. 2,947 people from all Croatian counties participated in the survey. She stated that the findings indicate that young women are in a peculiar situation: they are less employed, more educated but worse paid, more financially dependent, and much more likely to work in insecure employment relations. Young women are twice as discriminated against in the labor market and employment based on their age and gender and are more likely to be asked discriminating questions during job interviews.

The results of the “Youth in the labor market” survey show that every other young person in Croatia is unemployed, which is consistent with other surveys conducted in recent years. The wages of 60% of youth are under the Croatian average (HRK 5,500), or about HRK 4,500, which is insufficient for financial independence. The total of 67.5% of employed youth needs financial help, and the respondents reported that they were receiving financial aid, mostly from parents or partners (44.2%). It is therefore not surprising that only 14% of respondents have “not at all” considered moving abroad.

Gender differences are noticeable in a number of findings of this survey—men are more likely to work under indefinite term contracts and dominate the private sector, while women more often work under fixed-term employment contracts and are more likely to work in the civil service and public sector. Although women achieve better results during education and make a larger percentage of the graduates, they still make less than the male respondents.

The survey results have also shown that there’s no difference between the youth who has gained work experience in their field while studying (by volunteering or part-time jobs) and those who haven’t, which means that the results don’t support the opinion that young people with work experience more readily find employment. Finally, the results reveal that a staggering 34% of young people have seriously considered leaving Croatia.

Get more info about the survey at

On Saturday, April 25, 2015, the LORI Association held a seminar called “The problem of LGBT youth, homo/bi/transphobic violence, and the recommendations for school staff” in Rijeka. The seminar was designed for teachers and expert associates in Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Istra County schools. The aim of the seminar was to provide educational workers with relevant knowledge to more efficiently combat discrimination and violence against children and youth and effectively protect young people right to education in a safe environment.

The seminar covered the most important LGBT topics, terminology, LGBT human rights, coming out, and common forms of homophobia and transphobia—not only the visible, but also subtle forms unnoticed by those who don’t have to face them. One of the topics was abuse, especially bullying of LGBT youth in schools. In the interactive part, participants shared their experience and perception of the position and visibility of LGBT youth in schools. During the discussion, the participants also spoke about the opportunities to tackle the issue of LGBT human rights in education and inform and sensitize the youth in order to reduce violence and bullying.

The large turnout of seminar participants attests not only to the general interest, but also a great necessity to talk and learn about the topic in primary and secondary education.

On March 29, 2015, the Women’s Center Adela from Sisak will hold a press conference to present the project “Together we can do more!” at the Panonia Hotel in Sisak, starting at 10 a.m. The “Analysis of the state of social services in Sisak-Moslavina County” will be presented at the press conference as an initial result of the project.

Women’s Center’s president Marijanka Kovčević will present the project in the name of the NGO, and the “Analysis of the state of social services in Sisak-Moslavina County” will be presented by Lahorka Zec, head of the Secret Shelter for Women and Children Victims of Domestic Violence.

The project “Together We Can do More!” is run by the Women’s Room—Center for Sexual Rights (Zagreb) in partnership with the Women’s Center Adela (Sisak), Brod Association—Group for Women’s Human Rights (Slavonski Brod), Croatian Association of Social Workers (Zagreb), and Association of Youth and Family Judges and Specialists (Zagreb). The project is co-financed by the European Union from the European Social Fund and Croatian Government’s Office for Cooperation with NGOs (

On April 16 and 17, 2015, the RODA—Parents in Action Association organized the Human Rights in Childbirth Eastern Europe Conference in Zagreb. The conference was the eighth breastfeeding conference of the RODA Association. The conference was attended by representatives from 25 world countries, who emphasized a number of difficulties faced by pregnant and nursing women.

A spotlight was put on the problems and human rights violations facing women in childbirth around the globe, such as uninformed consent, physical and/or psychological violence against women in childbirth, unjustified medical interventions, the violation of privacy and intimacy, the absence of a partner who has completed childbirth training during childbirth, and so on. Another key issue was the large number of caesarean sections and episiotomies, which needs to be reduced.

The conference brought to light the necessity of continuing education for health workers as the first step in mother and child care. Mothers who have any questions or concerns can call RODA’s SOS line (01 61 77 520 or 091 22 77 220) or contact them through social networks.

Maja Mamula, Paula Zore, and Antonija Hojt-Ilić attended the conference on behalf of the Women’s Room.

Under the current Criminal Procedure Act, if you are a victim of a crime, you have the right to:

  • information about your rights during the proceedings that must be provided to you by the police, investigator, state attorney, and court
  • psychological and other professional help of victim support organizations
  • participate in criminal proceedings as the injured party
  • receive notification from the state attorney about the actions undertaken on the basis of your report and the right to file a complaint to a senior state attorney
  • professional assistance of a counsel provided from the budget funds if you are a victim of a criminal offense which carries a penalty of five years or more in jail and have suffered severe psychophysical injury or serious consequences of the criminal offense
  • submit a motion to realize the indemnification claim
  • financial compensation from the state budget in accordance with the Victims of Crime Compensation Act if you are a victim of a premeditated violent crime and have suffered serious bodily injury or significant health impairment as a consequence of the violent crime

If you are a victim of a criminal offense against sexual freedom and human trafficking, in addition to the above rights, you have the additional rights to:

  • talk to a counselor before the questioning
  • get an attorney at the expense of the state budget funds
  • be interviewed by a person of your gender in the police station and state attorney’s office
  • have a person of confidence with you during your interview
  • refuse to answer unnecessary questions pertaining to your personal life
  • demand to be interviewed with video and audio recording equipment
  • the confidentiality of personal information
  • demand to exclude the public from the hearing

If the victim of a crime is a child, in addition to the above victim’s rights, they have the additional right to:

  • an attorney at the expense of the state budget funds
  • be accompanied by a person of confidence when participating in actions
  • the confidentiality of personal information
  • testify without the presence of the public
  • get help and support of the court’s expert assistant and be interviewed with audio and video recording equipment, according to the circumstances and type of crime and the child’s age
  • according to the type of crime, be interviewed in his or her apartment or other specially equipped space rather than in court.

Children are all persons under the age of 18.

Child witnesses and victims are questioned by the investigating judge at an evidentiary hearing, and a child witness receives a summons through his or her parents or guardians.

If you are a victim, injured party, and/or witness of a crime, for example—if you are a victim of domestic or sexual violence, or have witnessed domestic or sexual violence, or know someone who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence—then you probably want answers to some of these questions:

What can I do if I’m in danger right now?

(Note that you can find shelters for women and children victims of domestic violence at the Safe Zone website if you urgently need shelter. You can also call the Women’s Room counseling center at 01 6119 444 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on workdays to get further help.)

How do I report a crime?

Do I have to testify?

What are my legal rights as a victim or witness in criminal court proceedings?

How long is the trial and what’s it like?

Am I entitled to compensation?

Who can I contact with questions if I don’t understand something?


You can get answers to these and similar questions that are relevant to crime victims and witnesses

  1. a) if you call the free line for crime victims at 116 006 (from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on workdays)
  2. b) at the following link:

The Croatian Ministry of Justice has opened Departments for Victim and Witness Support in Croatian county courts in order to help you and you can reach them at the following numbers:

County courts with victim and witness support teams:

Osijek County Court
Room 35
Europska avenija 7
31 000 Osijek
Rijeka County Court Žrtava fašizma 7
51000 Rijeka
Sisak County Court Trg Lj. Posavskog 5
44000 Sisak
Split County Court Gundulićeva 29a
21000 Split
Vukovar County Court Županijska 33
32000 Vukovar
Zadar County Court Borelli 9
23 000 Zadar
Zagreb County Court (head office)
Room 84/II
Trg N. Š. Zrinskog 5
10 000 Zagreb

Don’t hesitate to inquire about your rights and the steps that you can or should take in the case of a criminal offense. The specially trained experts in the areas of psychology and law will inform you about your rights and how to exercise them and refer you to other organizations and institutions that can offer professional help.