Opinion was issued in proceeding upon complaint filed by A. on behalf of R.K. against Social Care City Center in Belgrade, Zvezdara department, because of discrimination of R.K. and her juvenile daughter on grounds of gender and national affiliation, namely being a member of Roma national minority. It was stated in complaint that employees in Social Care City Center in Belgrade, Zvezdara department, refused to note R.K.’s statement regarding domestic violence. According to statements in complaint, a report of domestic violence was made for R.K. in A. and was later submited to relevant authorities and institutions. It was also stated in complaint that representatives of A. noticed at the conference, held on the occasion of this unfortunate event, that the violence that affected R. and directly or indirectly her juvenile daughter, was ignored and diminished, while they considered that unprofessional behavior of experts working in Social Care City Center in Belgrade, Zvezdara department, was a result of stereotypes as a way of thinking about roles and behavior of women and also of prejudices that exist toward Roma population, their customs and lifestyle. Therefore, as it was stated in the complaint, the violence that women from this group are exposed to is minimalized and experts are being demotivated to act ex officio. The statement of Head of Social Care City Center in Belgrade, Zvezdara department states that “they did not take statement from the mother because she was extremely disturbed and angry, her speech was not clear, but she was advised to see psychologist in the Health Center and to visit A. to get psychological and legal help”. It was also noted in the statement that employees in charge of R.K.’s case estimated the way of assistance and support, taking into account the marginalized position that stems from her socioeconomic and educational status, background and gender status and that R.K. was often received without previous appointment or announcement, by relevant experts and by emergency officers as well. It was determined during the proceedings that Social Care City Center in Belgrade, Zvezdara department, did not offer facts and evidence that could prove that there were objective reasons for refusing to accept R.K.’s report on domestic violence, on 14 September 2016, that was confirmed also by opinion issued by the Committee of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Issues, that found that mistakes in the work of Department. It was also determined during the proceedings that employees that were addressed by R.K. knew that her ex-partner was already convicted of domestic violence, but still did not note her report on domestic violence, but instead they directed her to ask assistance from the civil society organization. After the proceedings, based on provided evidence, available statistical data from this area, burden of proof, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality issued an opinion that by refusing to note the report on domestic violence by R.K. experts of Social Care City Center in Belgrade, Zvezdara department, exposed R.K. to multiple discrimination on the grounds of her personal characteristics – gender and nationality. Therefore, Social Care City Center in Belgrade, Zvezdara department, was issued a recommendation take all necessary measures to eliminate consequences of discriminatory treatment of R.K.; to send a written apology to R.K. because of discriminatory treatment of her, within 15 days of receipt of the opinion with recommendation; to organize training courses on discrimination for all employees in Social Care City Center in Belgrade, Zvezdara department, aimed at raising awareness among officers in charge of working with Roma population and women victims of domestic violence, as well as to refrain from violating anti-discrimination regulations in the future, when acting within their competences.
Commissioner for the Protection of Equality