In January 2013 Croatia signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, however, that convention has still not been ratified, heard an international conference on Thursday organised by the ROSA - Centre for women victims of war.
"Two governments have been in office (in Croatia) since the convention was signed and a third is currently being formed, however, there is no indication that the convention will be ratified," Adriana Bego said on behalf of the ROSA centre.
Former prime minister Jadranka Kosor is convinced that the convention has not been ratified because there wasn't anyone in government who would lobby for that. "The excuse that that was not done due to a lack of money is ridiculous," Kosor said.
The treatment of women can best be seen in the fact that since 2000 there has never been fewer women in parliament and there is not one woman at the head of any political party. "Violence against women is conceived by many, including politicians, as a personal family matter that no-one else should meddle in," Kosor underscored.
As this is a Council of Europe document, Kosor believes that Croatian MEPs should become involved and pressure the Croatian government and parliament to ratify the convention. "Because that in fact would be a message of how we will relate to that problem," she added.
She believes that Croatia is sliding backwards in regard to combating violence. "An indication of that is the proposal for amendments to the Family Act, which intend to abolish the equality of marriages and de-facto relationships. That would particularly affect women exposed to violence in de-facto relationships. Many women are in fact exposed to violence because their partners do not wish to enter into a legal marriage," Kosor said.