Support Initiatives

Domestic violence and abuse against women has intensified globally in the times of coronavirus. With quarantine orders proliferating across the world, and as the economic fallout of the pandemic exacerbates, domestic abuse has become, in the words of UN Women, “the shadow pandemic.”

“Even before COVID-19 existed, domestic violence was already one of the greatest human rights violations. In the previous 12 months, 243 million women and girls (aged 15-49) across the world have been subjected to sexual or physical violence by an intimate partner (…) Less than 40 per cent of women who experience violence seeking the help of any sort or reporting the crime. Less than 10 per cent of those women seeking help go to the police,” the organisation reported, adding that, “The current circumstances make reporting even harder, including limitations on women's and girls' access to phones and helplines and disrupted public services like police, justice and social services.”

In Bosnia and Herzegovina the situation for women appears to be particularly dire. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, almost one in every two women in Bosnia experiences violence, and under five per cent of them report it. What’s more is that the subject remains taboo in the country, and is seldom discussed openly, which leads to a widespread culture of complacency. 

Since 2016, training of law enforcement agents about domestic abuse issues has increased, but the overall response of the authorities in Bosnia is still largely insufficient. 

United Women Banja Luka is a Bosnia and Herzegovina-based non-profit organisation supporting women suffering from domestic abuse and working to abolish the culture of violence against women in the country.

Founded in 1996 in an attempt to provide urgent assistance and support to women who underwent abhorrent violence during the war, United Women Banja Luka has evolved over the years to a prominent organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

The organization currently provides direct support to women of all ages who are victims of violence and domestic abuse. It does so through pro-bono and gender-sensitive legal counselling, operating an SOS hotline, and maintaining a safe home for women and children suffering from abuse. 

United Women Banja Luka carry out campaigns and advocacy efforts aimed at improving laws and policies concerning women’s safety and domestic abuse and ending human trafficking in Bosnia. 

The organization also works to increase public awareness of and promote action on broader issues of women’s rights in order to foster a truly equal society, in which women are fully included in politics, the workforce, and the media. 

You can learn more about United Women Banja Luka’s work on their website, where you will find information about the organization’s different programs, publications, and volunteer opportunities. 

Image: European Parliament 

Call to Action
End Domestic Abuse in Bosnia and Herzegovina