Organizers of protest against domestic violence have received promises from Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovć to take action on domestic abuse on several fronts, following a large rally in the capital on Saturday.
After several thousand people protested in Zagreb against domestic violence, calling for more action from state institutions, the leaders of the protest met with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday, securing several pledges for measures aimed at increasing penalties for offenders and preventing domestic abuse. The protest was organized through social media under the hashtag #Spasi me or Save Me. After the meeting, the sides announced they had agreed to set up a domestic violence hotline by the end of the year. The government has also pledged to discuss opening up domestic violence shelters with county authorities. The Justice Ministry has promised to look into tougher sentences for abusers.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković attended the protest on Saturday and said he was ready to address the issue.
"The Ministry of Justice will get to work on making changes to the penal code and the domestic violence protection law in order to do what's most important, toughen up sentences for these acts, which are currently, practice has shown, treated more like misdemeanors than crimes. We believe that prevention can be more effective if sentences are tougher," Prime Minister Plenković said.
Jelena Veljača, a writer, producer, and actor, who is the leader of the Save Me Initiative said she expected the Prime Minister and his ministers to make good on their promises.
“We are very pleased that we have been included in several working groups. We plan to work just as passionately on this as we did on the protest. We promise we won't let down everyone who supported us or the victims of domestic violence. We will do everything in our power to make sure these demands are implemented," Veljača said.
Saturday's rally followed a spate of domestic violence and violence against women cases that drew wide-spread media attention, including the recent case on the island of Pag where a father threw his four children out of a first floor window. The children suffered serious injuries, but survived.