October 2021

National Conference: Prevention of minor marriages -Trial Phase A

The Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization organized a conference on the topic: “Prevention of minor marriages and domestic violence among members of the Roma population in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina” in partnership with the Center for Social Work of the City of Novi Sad at the Hotel Putnik in Novi Sad, October 14, 2021.

Bearing in mind that the prevalence of underage marriages is much higher among the Roma population in the entire region, and that a large number of Roma girls get married before the age of 18, it is evident that more attention needed to be paid to this topic.

The conference was attended by representatives of institutions and organizations:

  • Maja Miljković, director of the Provincial Institute for Social Protection;
  • Nenad Drašković, acting Deputy Head of the City Administration for Social and Child Protection of the City of Novi Sad;
  • Ljiljana Mihajlović, Director of the Office for Roma Inclusion;
  • Jelena Zorić, director of the Center for Social Work of the City of Novi Sad;
  • Anna Brtka Valent, Director of the Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization.

The conference was organized through three panel lectures in which research and results of practical work were presented.

Within the first panel, which was dedicated to the prevention of underage marriages, the following spoke: Svetlana Nešić Bajgo, advisor at the Provincial Protector of Citizens, who presented the research on the topic of “Juvenile Pregnancy”Vinka Žunić, a master psychologist from the Association of Roma Students, presented a research on the topic “Attitudes Of Roma Men About Child Marriage”. At the end of the panel, Marina Simeunović, an activist and human rights activist, spoke on the topic “Early Marriages in the Context of Gender-Based Violence, not the Roma Tradition.”

The second panel was dedicated to the legal framework related to the protection of domestic violence according to the legal framework of the Republic of Serbia, which was discussed by the judge of the Court of Appeals in Novi Sad, Olivera Pejak Prokeš. Furthermore, Ivana Perić, a psychologist from the SOS Women’s Center, spoke on the topic “Prevention and Protection According to the Recommendations of the Istanbul Convention.”

Within the third panel on the topic: “Domestic Violence – from Silence to Trauma” spoke Nada Padejski Šekerović, head of the shelter for children and vulnerable to domestic violence – “Safe Women’s House” in Novi Sad, and then Vesna Ćerimović from the Roma Association Novi Bečej which spoke about the programs that this association implements in order to prevent violence within the Roma community.