Material for a 2-hour lesson, part of the course on Domestic Violence, developed by the Police Development Unit of the OSCE Spillover Monitor Mission to Skopje.
Domestic violence is not what we thought we would be concerned with as a social problem in the new Millennium. In fact, it is an ancient problem that mere mention, makes our modern society face embarrassed and uncomfortable. The affects of domestic violence do not stop when the cuts and bruises heal. The psychological affects of domestic violence can be seen long after the violence has stopped. Domestic violence as a negative social phenomenon is the presence of physical, mental, sexual and emotional abuse within an intimate relationship. It occurs when one person uses abusive tactics to gain power and control over a partner or former partner.
There is, however, a contradiction at the heart of treating domestic violence as a crime 'like any other', because it isn't. The fact that it takes place in private, between parties who have/had an intimate relationship, and may be connected to each other in complicated ways (sharing a household, children, linked immigration status etc) makes a difference. As does the fact that domestic violence is never a single event, but a 'pattern of coercive control'. Often the event which prompts one of the families members to call the police is not especially 'serious' in legal terms and even may not be a criminal offence at all. The new laws in some European countries recognize this by creating a new offence of 'gross violation of a family member’s integrity'.
In Macedonia, there is no specific law - Lex specialis that deals with family violence, which is usually referred to as ‘domestic violence’ or ‘domestic abuse’, although one is at an early stage of development. This means that at the moment the police must pursue allegations of domestic violence reported by family members or the public under more general laws that include assault, rape, murder, etc. As state actors, the Police have a duty to protect individual rights and fundamental freedoms. In regard to domestic violence, this means that Police Officers have a duty to treat criminal offences within the family with the same level of commitment and seriousness that they would apply to crimes committed in the public sphere.
The goal of this lesson is to provide participants with an overview of Macedonian legislation with regards to Domestic Violence and also with an overview of International law which is applicable to the issue of domestic violence in Macedonia. Practical exercises in the training will enable the participants to apply legal knowledge gained to example situations involving domestic violence.
At the end of this lesson, participants will be able to: