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3. December 2019.

Zoran Djordjevic, Minister of Labor, Employment, Veterans' and Social Affairs, attended the event of launching the sixth national SOS helpline for women who experienced violence.

Minister Djordjevic said on that occasion that the Republic of Serbia was behind the SOS helpline, as well as that all eight people who answered the calls of women with the experience of violence were trained and licensed, so that they could give the best possible support and advice to victims of violence.

“The intelligent national SOS helpline service will learn from day-to-day events and thus improve its operations to provide the best support and advice to those who report violence. The line will operate 24 hours all 365 days a year and I believe that the employees will be able to respond to everything that is expected of them here, "Minister Djordjevic said.  

Minister Djordjevic also noted that all conversations on the SOS helpline would be recorded, for the purpose of preventing any kind of abuse and keeping the records, but also for the purpose of monitoring the work of employees, who must do their work responsibly. He also said that the SOS helpline would be financed from the budget of the City of Belgrade and partly from the Ministry’s one.

“I believe that we will be able to directly finance the SOS helpline after the Social Security Act has been amended. The goal is for these and similar projects to be funded by the state, so that more money would be received for them, which would be used to improve the operation of those services, "said Minister Djordjevic, underscoring that both the state and society must work together to tackle the problem of violence, adding that the best way to do that was through conversation, dialogue and education.

Suzana Misic, Assistant to Minister Djordjevic, who is in charge of managing the family and social care sector, said that the SOS helpline number 0800222003 was not just a call center and that it was intended for all citizens of the Republic of Serbia.

“During the call, the capacities, strengths and risks of the caller are assessed and a support system is established that lasts as long as the victim of violence needs it, or the caller receives the full support of the state until the procedure is completed and the victim's crisis situation is resolved. The SOS helpline number is also a preventive measure, because anyone who perpetrates violence must know that we come out into the field the moment we receive a call and that the whole process is being processed,” Assistant Minister Misic said.

State Secretary Stana Bozovic emphasized that the Government of Serbia's policy is zero tolerance to violence and any form of discrimination, and that the launch of that helpline was one of the most important components of the Istanbul Convention and the Council of Europe Convention, the Convention for the Prevention of Violence and Fight against Violence, which came into force in Serbia in August 2014. 

Source: Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans' and Social Affairs and Coordination Body