For Emergency dial 1 9 2

Domestic Violence Tips


What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is committed by anyone who, by using violence, threatening to attack life or body, by insolent or reckless behavior, endangers the peace, physical integrity or mental state of a member of his family. It is a behavior by which a family member endangers the physical integrity, mental health or tranquility of another or other family members. Everyone has the right to protection from domestic violence, in accordance with the law.


  1. POLICE 192
  2. Reporting domestic violence 0800-100-600.
  3. Women's Center SOS hotline against violence against women and children on weekdays (10 am - 8 pm) 2645-328.
  4. SOS hotline for women and children victims of violence (14-18h) 3626-006.
  5. SOS Children's line "Number for your problem" free and confidential calls (0-24h) 0800-123456.
  6. Counseling for marriage and family 2650-258
    Palilula (8-15.30h) 2752-224 and
    Zemun (8-15h) 2695-416.
  7. SOS Youth Center (18-22h) 3192-782.
  8. Autonomous Women's Center - SOS hotline for support of women victims of violence - 0800 100 007 (from 10 am to 8 pm on working days)
  9. Safe house
  10. Women's psychological and legal support - addresses and telephone numbers

Domestic violence is, in the Republic of Serbia, defined and prohibited by the provisions of:

Table of contents:

What is Considered Domestic Violence?

  • Inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm
  • Causing fear by threatening to kill or inflict bodily harm on a family member or a person close to him
  • Forced sexual intercourse
  • Inducing sexual intercourse or inducing sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 14 or an incapacitated person
  • Restriction of freedom of movement or communication with third parties
  • Insult, like any other insolent, rude and malicious behavior

The Center for Social Work performs the tasks of family protection, family assistance and guardianship. The procedure in the dispute is initiated by a lawsuit, which can be filed by: the family member against whom the violence was committed, his legal representative, the public prosecutor and the guardianship authority.

Forms of Manifestation of Domestic Violence

Any form of gender-based violence, ie any act that causes harm or suffering of a physical, mental or sexual nature, threats of such acts, coercion and other forms of restriction of liberty constitute violence against women as a form of discrimination within the meaning of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The most important international agreement in the field of women's rights, which was ratified by the Republic of Serbia in 1981.

Domestic and partner violence has various forms and manifestations:

  • Physical violence is the intentional use of physical force that can cause pain, injury, disability or death.
  • Sexual violence is a sexual act without the consent or choice of the victim to give consent, regardless of whether the act took place, then a sexual act or an attempt to act when the person is unable to consent or refuse to participate due to illness, disability, psychoactive influence substances, age, ie intimidation, blackmail or pressure, painful and degrading sexual act.
  • Psychological violence is a disturbance of the victim's peace due to behavior, threats and the use of methods of intimidation with or without the use of tools and weapons that can cause bodily injury.

A specific form of psychological violence is controlling the victim by monitoring, ie stalking, where harassment and intimidation are repeated.

  • Economic violence is a form of psychological violence that involves unequal access to common funds, denial or control of access to money, prevention of employment or education and professional advancement, denial of property rights, coercion to renounce property, alienation without consent and other manifestations.

What Distinguishes Domestic Violence from other Forms of Violence?

This type of violence differs from the others due to the fact that the abuser and the victim are in an emotionally close relationship. There is also the problem of power and control that the abuser feels, and he does not want to end this and such a relationship with the victim. The perpetrators control the victim's movements, her contacts, money, they try to isolate her from the rest of her family and friends, and that makes the mechanisms of violence. They constantly let the victim know that she is alone, that her behavior is the reason for the violence, she threatens in various ways when the victim tries to leave the abuser.

These are perfidious mechanisms of control of the perpetrator over the victim. The perpetrators often diminish the violence they have committed, try to justify themselves and shift the blame to the victim, he wants to dominate the victim and that is his mode of action. A bully cannot function without sacrifice. When the victim opposes, violence ensues.

Understanding the position of the victim of violence as well as her traumatic experience is important for police officers. Victims of violence often hesitate to seek help or want to remain anonymous when reporting violence. They are afraid of the reactions of the abuser, but also of the rest of the family when they find out about the report. They feel ashamed or guilty about what they have survived, especially when it comes to rape or sexual abuse.

In their actions, the police must keep in mind the unequal power between the perpetrator and the victim, as well as cultural differences between family members in different communities and environments, in order to treat victims in an impartial, constructive, consistent and non-judgmental manner, using all statutory powers.

The Role and Conduct of the Police in Cases of Reported Domestic Violence

Regarding the conduct of the police, the incrimination of domestic violence is important in the Criminal Code, which prescribes a separate criminal offense of Domestic Violence due to the complex criminal protection of a family member (Article 194 of the Criminal Code).

However, in the actions of the perpetrator, the competent prosecutor may qualify another crime with elements of violence (eg, grievous bodily harm, grievous bodily harm, neglect and abuse of a minor, abuse and torture, endangering safety, unlawful deprivation of liberty, endangering with dangerous weapons in fights and quarrels, Inducing suicide and aiding in suicide, Rape, etc.). Also, having in mind the various manifestations of violence, it is possible to recognize violations of the Law on Public Order and Peace.

A family member, in terms of the Criminal Code, is considered to be: spouses, their children, ancestors of spouses in the direct line of blood relationship, extramarital partners and their children, adoptive parent and adoptee, breadwinner and foster parent. Family members include siblings, their spouses and children, ex-spouses and their children and parents of ex-spouses, if they live in a joint household, as well as persons who have a joint child or the child is about to be born, even though they have never lived in the same family household.

The police can find out in various ways that domestic violence has been committed (directly, indirectly and on their own initiative), as follows:

  • when the victim voluntarily reports violence,
  • from an anonymous or known person (by phone or in writing),
  • when he receives certain orders to act from the court or the prosecutor's office,
  • application by an employee of the Health Center, the Center for Social Work or other institution,
  • performing other police and security tasks.

The goal of police intervention is to stop domestic violence within the limits of police authority.

It is necessary to provide the police officers who were referred to the intervention with data on the information related to the reported person, whether there is information that he is under the influence of alcohol, narcotics or drugs that affect his mental state. Also, whether force, weapons or other means were used during the reported violence, with which the victim was injured or could have been injured, as well as whether the reported person had previously committed the same or similar acts with elements of violence.

During the intervention, the task of the police is to establish disturbed order and peace, ie to establish control over the perpetrator of violence, but also other persons who were found at the scene.

Standardization of the Conduct of Police Officers

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia has formed a Working Group, which deals with the problem of domestic violence. Several activities have been initiated to encourage more efficient policing. One of the tasks is to continue educating police officers in order to better understand the issues and to effectively intervene and document violence in order to conduct court proceedings.

Within the project "Gender Perspective of Human Security", which is implemented in partnership by the Autonomous Women's Center, ASTRA and Women in Black, a document Guidelines for Preventing Secondary Victimization of Women Victims of Violence in Contact with Police Officers was created. The document represents a contribution to the efforts and activities undertaken by the RS Ministry of the Interior to adopt and implement a Special protocol for the conduct of police officers in cases of violence against women in the family and partnerships and especially to particularly vulnerable groups of women (women with disabilities, women with mental health challenges, Roma women

Adoption of the Special Protocol on the Conduct of Police Officers in Cases of Violence against Women in Domestic and Partnership Relations is of great importance for the Ministry of the Interior, because respecting the principle that the safety of victims is a priority, the procedure for police officers in cases of domestic violence.

The objectives of the Protocol are the standardization of the conduct of police officers in cases of violence against women in the family and in partnerships, as well as the specialization of certain police officers who will be engaged in the conduct of police in these cases.

The task of the police is to protect the victim, without prejudice and discrimination. It is also necessary to adequately conduct interviews with the victim of violence, when it occurred, ie to ensure her safety after the indicated medical assistance. Police officers must be trained for such jobs, as well as other state services.

In their actions, the police adhere to the common and universally valid principles defined in the General Protocol on the conduct and cooperation of institutions, bodies and organizations in situations of violence against women in the family and in partnerships.

Children are victims of violence even when they are not directly exposed to it, but watch violence in their home, against their mother or some other family member. Centers for social work should monitor developments in such families.

UNICEF - Resource Center: Protocols for the Protection of Children from Abuse and Neglect.

General Protocol for the Protection of Children from Abuse and Neglect.

Civil society organizations that study the problem of domestic violence, believe that the constant increase in the number of criminal charges, a large number of campaigns that encourage victims to report violence, but also that they trust the state authorities to be able to protect them.

There is a certain percentage of false reporting of crimes with elements of domestic violence and the most common motives for false reporting of these events are:

  • revenge on a partner for breaking up,
  • jealousy,
  • unrequited love,
  • material benefit,
  • for younger persons for justification due to: running away from home, late exits, unjustified absences from school, insufficient grades, drawing parents' attention to personal or family problems.

Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia, Article 338.

There are more and more women, victims of domestic violence and it is especially worrying that more and more of them are losing their lives.

Victims for various reasons refuse to report the perpetrator. In almost 90 percent of cases, the victims are women. About 80 percent of the perpetrators are men.

In order to stop this negative trend, specialization and additional training and education of all services dealing with these problems should be conducted: social, judicial and police. It is also necessary for the whole society to face the existence of this problem and for all of us to be involved in the prevention of domestic violence and assistance to victims, in order to prevent violence from leading the victim to illness, disability or death.


Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used by someone to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation. It happens between people who are, or have been, in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence often includes the threat or actual use of violence. It happens when one person believes they are entitled to control another.

Domestic violence can take many forms. In many cases the behavior amounts to a criminal act. It is also a unique crime because there is

usually a pattern of abuse over time, unlike, for example, when a robbery occurs one evening. Domestic violence tends to be repeated with more frequency and more severity. Domestic violence can include emotional abuse, such as name-calling and put-downs, and economic abuse, when one person uses money and finances to control the other. Often an abusive partner may be sexually abusive, use or control the children, or threaten, isolate, or intimidate the other. All of these behaviors are used to maintain fear, intimidation and power.

Although not all of these behaviors are against the law (such as in cases of emotional abuse without physical harm), none of them are acceptable; Nobody deserves abuse. In all cultures, the perpetrators are most commonly men, and women are usually the victims of violence.

Acts of domestic violence generally fall into one or more of the following categories defined in the Power and Control Wheel below. Each section of the wheel represents a particular tactic or kind of abuse. At the center of the wheel is the main intent behind the behaviors: to establish power and control.

Who Are the Victims of Domestic Violence?

If you are being hurt physically or emotionally by someone you love, it is common to feel like you're all alone. But domestic violence happens to lots of people. Studies have shown that most survivors of domestic violence do not share common characteristics although most victims are women and girls. One out of every four women will experience abuse during her life. However, increasing reports are being received from men and boys who have been victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence happens to:

  • teenagers and elderly people
  • married and unmarried people
  • gay and straight people
  • people of all different classes
  • people of all different races and backgrounds
  • people from throughout the country and all over the world

Remember, you are not alone...and you do not deserve the abuse.

Who Are the Abusers?

People who abuse come from all class backgrounds, races, and religions. There is no "typical" abuser. People who abuse may:

  • Fear losing control
  • Have stereotypical ideas about how people in a relationship should act
  • Have low self-esteem
  • Keep to themselves
  • Have a history of family alcohol or drug abuse
  • Have witnessed violence between their parents or were abused as a child
  • Have poor relationships with partners or family members
  • Act extremely jealous and possessive
  • Have controlling behavior
  • Are quick to get involved in the relationship
  • Have unrealistic expectations for their relationships
  • Blame others for their own problems or for uncontrollable events
  • Act cruelly to animals or children
  • Act verbally abusive
  • Have abused former partners
  • Threaten to use violence
  • Use force during an argument
  • Not take responsibility for their actions

The Cycle of Violence

Many people who are in abusive relationships say that the violence follows a pattern. It does not happen randomly; rather, it often occurs in a repeating cycle that is made up of three phases.


Phase 1: Tension-Building

The abuser is argumentative, angry, uses yelling, criticism, swearing, and angry gestures. Sometimes the abuser will use coercion, threats or minor fights may occur. The tension between the couple gets worse and worse, and the person being abused often feels like something bad is going to happen. Victims of abuse during this phase sometimes say they feel like they are walking on eggshells.

Phase 2: Use of Violence - The "Explosion"

As the tension builds, violence is highly likely - the explosion phase. This is when a

major act of violence occurs, including physical and/or sexual attack and threats to harm, as well as verbal abuse. It is in this phase that injury is most likely to occur or that the police might come.

Phase 3: "Honeymoon" Period.

After the explosion, the abuser feels sorry for the explosion, and acts apologetic and loving. The abuser might say things like:

  • I'll never do it again
  • I'm sorry, and I never meant to hurt you
  • I promise I will change
  • I promise I'll get help
  • I only did it because I was drunk/high/lost my temper, etc.

They may shower gifts on the other person or act like the person you first fell in love with, and things get better...for a little while. But the honeymoon doesn't last - the tension starts all over again, and the cycle continues.

These three phases tend to be repeated over time and may have days, weeks or months between each. Sometimes the period between phases gets shorter and shorter. This explains how the three dynamics of love, hope and fear, keep the cycle in motion and make it hard to end a violent relationship. Often, the longer the relationship lasts, the faster the cycle will turn - and the worse the abuse gets during the explosion.

This cycle might look exactly like what's happening in your relationship or it might not at all. Either way, the violence is not your fault. You are not responsible for someone else's behavior, and you do not deserve the abuse.


The Non-Violence Wheel

No matter what kind of relationship you are in now or have been in before, you deserve one where both people are treated equally. In an equal relationship, both people share the power and control.

The wheel below shows a relationship that centers on equality, fairness, and respect, and non-violence. Use this chart to compare the characteristics of a non-violent relationship to those of an abusive relationship. The Non-Violence Wheel is also helpful in setting goals and boundaries in personal relationships.

Myths and Facts about Domestic Violence

Myth Fact
Violence is really only an isolated event. There isn't much of it happening. Between one and four million women are abused by a partner each year in the United States.
Domestic violence only happens to poor people or minorities. Abuse can happen in all types of households, in any kind of relationship (gay or straight, young or old), regardless of race, economic background or educational level..
The victim makes the partner abuse by "getting in their face" and asking for it. Every relationship has arguments and stress, but most people don't hit others when they get angry. An abuser has limited skills to deal with stress. No matter what, you can’t control how someone else behaves.
Victims of domestic violence never leave their abusers. Most victims try to leave their abusers several times. Because abusers use violence, financial control, or threats to hurt the children in order to keep the victim in the relationship, it can take at least six efforts before victims leave for good.
The victim actually enjoys the attention, likes or needs the violence, or is “always a victim.” Victims of domestic violence desperately want the abuse to end. Many victims call the police and seek help from family and friends to protect themselves. Some victims endure beatings to keep the abuser from attacking the children.
Low self-esteem causes victims to get involved in abusive relationships. Some victims may have low self-esteem as a result of being abused, but there is little to support the theory that low self-esteem causes victims to become involved in abusive relationships.
The abuser is a sick or crazy monster, or is angry all the time. An abuser can be passive, a "nice person" who is generous to others and sensitive. Anyone could be an abuser. Abusers often have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality, where they act differently to their partner than they do to the rest of the world.
Alcohol or substance abuse is the cause of violence. Most abusers hit whether drunk or sober, though substance use may increase the frequency or severity of violent episodes. Alcohol/substance abuse does not cause abusers to beat their partners, though it is frequently used as an excuse. Even if an abuser gets treatment for substance abuse, the domestic violence may continue because these are two separate problems.

Where to Turn for Help

An abuser depends on secrecy and isolation to keep the other person in the relationship. Domestic violence can be linked to isolation of the victim. Many people who are abused feel alone and are afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Remember, abuse is not your fault and there are people who can help. Don't try to handle this alone!

Who Can Offer You Information, Resources and Support?

  • The police
  • Your doctor or nurse
  • A friend
  • A family member
  • A neighbor
  • Someone at work
  • A teacher or staff member at your children's school
  • Someone from your place of worship
  • Someone at your local community center
  • Your local domestic violence hotline or shelter
    (see CALL FOR HELP! on the beggining of this page)

Helping a Friend Who Is Being Abused

Knowing that someone you care about is being abused is upsetting and frustrating. While supporting your friend, you may want to find someone that you can talk to about your own emotions at this time.

  • Believe your friend. Don't question what they are telling you based on your experiences with the abuser or with domestic violence. Everyone's experience is different!
  • Don't blame your friend for their decisions whether they leave or stay. Leaving an abusive relationship is really difficult. Please be patient!
  • Assure your friend that they do not deserve to be abused and that they are not in any way responsible for the abuse. Communicate to your friend that what is happening is not their fault and the abuse is not OK.
  • Be aware of, and responsive to, any suicidal thoughts or feelings your friend may have.
  • Find out if they have a support system. Are there other people they could talk to about this?
  • Help your friend plan for safety.
  • Find out the name and number of your local domestic violence hotline/shelter, and give it to them.
  • Educate yourself about relationship violence as well.

If your friend is in a same-sex relationship, it can be even more difficult for them to talk about what is happening, especially if they're not "out". Learn more about same-sex abuse, and encourage them to do the same. Find resources in your community that have expertise in this area.

Keeping Yourself Safe with a Safety Plan

It is very stressful to be in an abusive relationship and live in a violent home. You may feel powerless, but here are some things you can do to ensure your and your children's safety. A Safety Plan may look overwhelming, but simply reading it over and thinking about the suggestions can be helpful.

You can personalize the following safety plans by filling in the blanks. Be sure to keep this information in a safe place where your abuser can't find it (for example, at a friend's house, your workplace or in a locked safe). Samples of a safety plan to cover different circumstances you may find yourself in are located in the safety planning section.

Keeping Yourself Safe with Protection Orders

Getting an Order of Protection

There are many steps you can take to protect your safety during or after an abusive relationship. You may wish to apply for a Measure of Temporary Removal of the Perpetrator from the Apartment. You can also apply for a Measure Temporarily Prohibiting the Perpetrator from Contacting and Approaching the Victim of Violence.

What These Orders Will Provide?

These orders will provide you that your abuser will stop abusing and/or threatening you, staying away from you, not contacting you in any way and will provide other forms of relief that you need to be sure of.

Who can get one?

You can get order if you have been physically hurt, sexually assaulted, threatened, stalked or had property destroyed by a person to whom you are related by blood, adoption, marriage, domestic partnership, have a child in common, share or have shared the same home, have or previously had a dating relationship (it does not need to be a sexual relationship) or from a person who had one of the above relationships with your current domestic partner.

When do I file for a Order of Protection?

As soon as possible after the abuse occurs, go to the Domestic Violence Intake Center (Safe House Belgrade). You can file up later, but a delay in filing may make the judge less likely to believe you. The process of filing for a Order of Protection can take several hours, so make sure you leave plenty of time to arrive at the court before it closes.

Remember, a Order of Protection cannot make the abuse stop.

Nonetheless, it is an important step to take because it helps legally document your experience. If you get a Order of Protection, make sure you think about other steps you can take to plan for your safety. The next section will give you suggestions to do so.

Read more about Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence.

Safe House Belgrade

The first level of help, which the Counseling Center had in its work from the beginning, is a conversation with women who had a problem, either by phone or direct conversations with qualified counselors (social workers, psychologists ...). The counseling center offers victims of domestic violence and free legal assistance in its premises. During 2013, a network of lawyers was formed within our organization, which provides free legal assistance to victims who turn to the Counseling Center against Domestic Violence, and who are not from Belgrade and do not have the opportunity to come to the Counseling Center.

The second level of assistance is the accommodation of victims of domestic violence in Safe Houses where they are provided with security at a secret address and under conditions that guarantee their safety, recovery, support and professional assistance. Safe houses save the lives of women and children who are fleeing domestic violence, but during their stay in the house they are actively working on their empowerment, professional help and support is available to them, cooperation with institutions is established, and they work through group therapy. networking so that when women leave the Safe House they will be able to continue living without violence.

More about Safe House Belgrade.


Photo of the Month


Contact Information

Police Station Rakovica

Patrijarha Joanikija 30,
Rakovica, Belgrade, Serbia
Phone: 011 745 2422