The Croatian translation of a European Institute for Gender Equality publication on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in European Union member states was presented in Zagreb on Tuesday on the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is observed on November 25, together with the results of the "My Voice Against Violence" project.
The project was implemented by civil institutions promoting the fight against violence against women in cooperation with the government's Gender Equality Office.
Domestic violence against women remains one of the most frequent human rights violations and one of the biggest global problems, the publication says, adding that nine in ten victims of partner violence in EU countries are women.
The aim of the publication is to support policy makers and relevant institutions in the fight against domestic violence. Violence against women knows no geographical boundaries, ethnic or class differences, or age limits, the publication says.
The head of the government's Gender Equality Office, Helena Stimac Radin, said Croatia had taken over the Beijing Platform and was obliged to submit a report to the UN every five years on the situation and the measures taken to protect women from violence.
She said Croatia compiled a 20-year report a few years ago which showed that it was neither the best nor the worst when it came to violence against women and their protection. She said a lot had been done but that one could always do more. She said that although there were fewer criminal complaints than in other European countries, it did not mean that there was less violence.
Activist Maja Mamula said the results of the "My Voice Against Violence" project showed that women in Croatia generally did not report it.
In an anonymous survey, 17 percent of women said they were raped, which means about 300,000 women in Croatia, as many as 91% said nothing about it to anyone and 95% did not report it, Mamula said, adding that this was due to the long and painful process victims had to go through.
Statistics show that first instance proceedings take three years and second instance proceedings another three, only for the perpetrator to be sentenced to two to three years' imprisonment and go free after a year, she said.