On June 12, 2015, the Women’s Room—Center for Sexual Rights organized a one-day training on the subject of “The application of the Rules of Procedure in Cases of Sexual Violence” at the Club Funimation Borik Hotel in Zadar. The training was designed for professionals working with persons who have survived sexual violence. These professions include, but are not limited do: the police, healthcare, judiciary, social care, education sector, and non-governmental sector.

The Croatian Government adopted the Rules of Procedure in Cases of Sexual Violence on November 29, 2012, at the proposal of the Office for Gender Equality. The Rules of Procedure is one of the most significant steps in ensuring standardized help and support for victims of sexual violence when reporting and during the processing of sexual violence.

The specialized training for the professional staff of competent institutions and bodies was conducted in order to ensure the best possible implementation of the Rules of Procedure and to contribute to the National Policy for Gender Equality (for the period 2011-2015) measure which prescribes the improvement in cooperation between all competent bodies and other factors involved in identifying and preventing sexual violence.

The theme of the training was learning the responsibilities of each competent institution and body (the police, healthcare, judiciary, social care centers, educational institutions, NGOs), working on specific cases, and future challenges and steps for a better implementation of the Rules of Procedure in Cases of Sexual Violence.

Maja Mamula, PhD (Women’s Room—Center for Sexual Rights Coordinator) opened the training by presenting the development and adoption of the Rules of Procedure in Cases of Sexual Violence and announcing all speakers. Maja Mamula also gave a lecture on defining sexual violence, its forms and prevalence, focusing on the situation in Croatia regarding sexual violence and the role of the Rules of Procedure. Julijana Stipišić, Split County Deputy State’s Attorney, focused on the problem of sexual violence and sex crimes from the legal perspective and introduced the terms and legislation relating to this problem.

Branka Žigante Živković from the High Misdemeanor Court spoke about the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and stressed the importance of its ratification. Finally, Zagreb County Court Judge Lana Petö Kujundžić referred to the obligations of the judicial system in protecting the rights of victims of sexual violence. She covered the procedure and verdicts for crimes against sexual freedom by explaining about the duration of the court proceedings, its purpose, the role of judge, factors in defining sanctions, and rights of all parties involved in the process. Judge Petö Kujundžić next gave a lecture on questioning children in court, specifically in the case of crimes against sexual freedom.

All presentations were corroborated with various examples from practice and active discussion. The one-day training was attended by numerous representatives of social care centers, educational institutions, healthcare, judicial authorities, police, NGOs, and other state institutions.

This was the third training that dealt with these problematics. The first was held on November 28 last year in Zagreb and the second on April 24 of this year in Osijek.

One-day training is an integral part of the Croatian Government’s Office for Gender Equality project “My voice against violence”, which is financially supported by the European Union (in the context of the EU Program for Employment and Social Solidarity—PROGRESS). The project is a collaboration between two partner organizations: the Women’s Room—Center for Sexual Rights and CESI—Center for Education, Counseling and Research.

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