The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) presented in Sarajevo today the results of the OSCE-led Survey on the Well-being and Safety of Women for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
This survey was conducted by the OSCE in 2018 with the goal of providing comparable data on different forms of violence women experience throughout the course of their lives. The research also examined violence that women experience in conflict and non-conflict settings, as well as the impact violence has both on women and on larger societies, including its lasting consequences.
“Violence against women is a social, not an individual problem. While manifestations might change over time, the root causes are deeply ingrained in our societies,” said OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Miroslav Lajčák, in BiH on an official visit. “The OSCE recognizes violence against women as both a threat to individuals and a broader security concern and is committed to combating it, as outlined in last year’s important Ministerial Council Decision on preventing and combating violence against women. Violence against women and girls must not be overlooked any longer,” stressed Lajčák.
The results for Bosnia and Herzegovina show that three out of five women think that violence against women is common in their communities. Also, four in ten women in BiH stated that they experienced psychological, physical or sexual violence since the age of 15 by a partner or other persons. Nearly half of the women interviewed believe that domestic violence is a private matter, and more than 40% do not know what to do if they experience violence. Unfortunately, the majority of women do not report the violence they experience, identifying shame, financial repercussions/issues, lack of information, mistrust in services and overall fear as reasons for not reporting their experiences to relevant institutions.
Samra Filipović-Hadžiabdić, Director of the BiH Agency for Gender Equality said that this survey should be considered as a call for action. “In BiH the situation is complex because there is no unique strategic or harmonized legislative framework for the fight against gender based violence. Because of that, the BiH Agency for Gender Equality and the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees will continue to work on ensuring an equal system of prevention and protection for victims of violence in the country, harmonizing legislative and institutional framework with the aim of securing protection, status and access to services for victims of violence.”
The survey was conducted in seven OSCE participating States: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Moldova, Ukraine. It was also conducted in Kosovo. Overall, more than 15,000 women were asked about different forms of violence they have experienced over the course of their lives. In BiH 2,321 women aged 18 to 74 were interviewed.