Interview: Zagreb is a safe place for women

Zagreb 1
19 April 2023
Interview: Zagreb is a safe place for women

This interview with PES Group member Joško Klisović, President of the Assembly of the city of Zagreb, is part of our #SafePlace4Women campaign and of our series “#ProgressiveLocalStories”, aimed at raising awareness on the many positive initiatives implemented by progressive cities and regions in Europe when it comes to promoting a social, fair and sustainable Europe.

Why is Zagreb a front-runner when it comes to combating violence against women?

The City of Zagreb supports initiatives aimed at creating a safe city environment for women and a life free from physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence, sexual harassment and sexism, and at creating preconditions for the fight against gender-based violence.

In 2008, the City of Zagreb became the first city in the Republic of Croatia to adopt the Zagreb Strategy to Combat Domestic Violence. Since the adoption of the strategy, Zagreb has developed many local services for female victims of domestic violence and for victims of gender-based violence, such as counselling centres, shelters, preventive programmes and psychosocial treatment for perpetrators of domestic violence. We have supported civil society organisations by providing assets for programmes, co-financing activities and participating in European projects on the topic of combating gender-based violence.

Which concrete actions have you successfully put in place to make your city/region a safe place for women?

We founded the first public social care home in Croatia that provides counselling services, shelters for victims of violence and psychosocial treatment for perpetrators of domestic violence (see Duga – Zagreb's home page).

Annually, we finance more than ten civil society organisations - such as the Autonomna ženska kuća Zagreb and Ženska pomoć sada - that deal with the prevention of violence against women. City tenders for shelters and counselling centres for female victims of violence are for three years for the sake of sustainability and availability of services.

Your city has just adopted a resolution committing to make your city a #SafePlace4Women. What concrete steps do you envisage?

At the beginning of January 2023, the Assembly of the City of Zagreb adopted the Resolution declaring Zagreb a safe place for women following the adoption of the fourth Zagreb Strategy for Protection Against Domestic Violence for the period 2023-2025. 

On the basis of these documents, we plan to develop free retraining and education programmes for female victims of violence, to strengthen the housing programme for women, to develop a special tender for civil society organisations dealing with protection from violence, and to develop a new social service providing organised housing to those leaving shelters.

How can the European Union contribute to making Zagreb a safer place for women? 

So far we have participated in several European projects on the topic of working with perpetrators of domestic violence and the prevention of violence against older women. The European Union should support the development of new social services for female victims of violence and the exchange of good practices at local levels. 



Photo credits: Joško Klisović