This week, the Croatian government presented a legislative package that foresees significantly tougher penalties for violence against women. Non-governmental organizations that deal with helping victims of violence have welcomed the announced legal changes.
Femicide is becoming a crime punishable by 10 to 40 years in prison. Penalties for rape will also be higher, and the state is also introducing an alimony fund.
Thirteen women were killed by their partners in Croatia last year, which ranks the country in the infamous third place in the European Union. At the initiative of non-governmental organizations, the government of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has now prepared a significantly stricter law for abusers of women and children.
“With it, we want to communicate that killing a woman just because she is a woman is unacceptable,” said Prime Minister Plenković and announced that under the new law, femicide will be a crime punishable by 10 to 40 years in prison.
The penalties for rape will also be higher, from five to twelve years. Sexual harassment is becoming an exclusive crime, and the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution for all crimes of child sexual abuse will be abolished.
Bullies will not be allowed to come closer than 50 meters to the victim, and in case of violation, they will end up in pre-trial detention. The new law also enables victims in court proceedings to testify via video link, and in the case of domestic violence, mediation between partners is not required.
“I’m really positively surprised, this time the government took a big step forward to protect women and children living in violent relationships,” she said Neva Tolle from the Autonomous Women’s House. In addition to the aforementioned innovations, the government is also introducing an alimony fund, from which the state will pay alimony for children, and then claim the money from those parents who do not fulfill their obligations.