Rights and Resources for Domestic Violence Victims

Justice and the People Campaign is asking that the Kosovo Police provide victims of domestic violence with a written brochure stating their legal rights and the resources that are available to them.  There are a number of protections that a victim of domestic violence can obtain from the legal system, and victims need to know about these protections so that they can ask for them.  To meet this need, the Campaign has created a brochure on Victims’ Rights in Domestic Violence Cases.

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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is the use of physical or sexual violence, or psychological pressure against a person in a domestic relationship that causes a person to fear for his or her physical, emotional, or economic wellbeing.  Acts of domestic violence can be committed against women, men, children, and the elderly.

Legal Protections Available for Victims of Domestic Violence

A victim of domestic violence has the following rights:

  • The right to be treated with dignity and not to be victimized again
  • The right to request a protection order from a court that can protect the victim from the person committing domestic violence
  • The right to be kept informed about any legal proceedings of which the victim is a part
  • The right to seek a private prosecution, if the public prosecutor does not file a criminal case against the person committing domestic violence
  • The right to provide evidence and facts about what happened in a criminal investigation or a court case
  • The right to be informed about the place and time of a hearing or trial
  • The right to be informed about the judge’s decision on issuing a protection order or the outcome of a criminal trial

A victim of domestic violence can ask a municipal court to receive a protection order containing one or more of the following protection measures:

  • Prohibiting the person committing the violence from approaching the victim
  • Prohibiting harassment
  • Removing the person committing the violence from the apartment or house
  • Sending the police to accompany the victim while she collects her personal belongings
  • Giving the victim temporary custody of children and temporarily removing parental rights from the person committing the violence
  • Prohibiting the person committing the violence from selling belongings that the victim and the person committing the violence own together
  • Ordering the person committing the violence to allow the victim to return to the household

An emergency protection order is a protection order that can be issued when a victim needs immediate protection.  It can be issued within 24 hours, but may last for a shorter time than a regular protection order.  A temporary emergency protection order is a protection order issued outside the working hours of the court, such as during the weekend, by the Kosovo Police Service.  It lasts only until the next day that the court is open.

Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence

Police: Domestic violence can be reported by calling the police or going to a police station. Some police stations have officers who specialize in domestic violence cases.

Legal Assistance: Victims of domestic violence can seek assistance from the Victims’ Advocates, which have offices in most municipalities in Kosovo.  A victims’ advocate can prepare legal documents, such as a request for a protection order.  He or she can also give advice, accompany the victim to make a statement in the police station, and assist the victim in court.  The police can help a victim contact a local victims’ advocate.

Other institutions and NGOs also provide legal assistance. The Center for Legal Aid and Regional Development (CLARD) provides legal assistance in several municipalities.  You can call them at (038) 223 759.  The Legal Aid Commission also has offices in several municipalities.   You can call them at (038) 200 18 946.

Housing: If a victim of domestic violence does not have a safe place to live, she or he may be able to stay in a victim’s shelter for a limited time.  The police, a victims’ advocate, or a social worker from the Center for Social Welfare and Protection of Victims can help a victim find the location of the nearest victim’s shelter.

This website is not legal advice.  This website contains general information on the rights and resources available to victims of domestic violence.  For legal advice, please contact an attorney or the legal aid services.

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