21 February 2020
Pristina, 21 February 2020 – A specialized training course on standardized and effective first responses to domestic violence cases for some 100 frontline police officers and domestic violence investigators was held from 18 to 20 February 2020 in Pristina.
The training course, delivered by EULEX experts Roland Burgsteiner and Magdalena Trojca, aimed to enable frontline police officers to timely detect domestic violence cases, to standardize the Kosovo Police’s first response to such cases, and to create a safer environment for survivors, ensuring a victim-based approach. The focus of the training course was on enhancing the skills and effectiveness of first responders to domestic violence cases in order to secure better evidence at the crime scene and to improve the quality and number of successful investigations and, ultimately, the prosecution and adjudication of such cases.
The Head of EULEX, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, said that Kosovo’s legal and policy framework on domestic violence is advanced. However, the actual implementation of laws and strategies can be challenging: “The criminalization of domestic violence in the new Kosovo Criminal Code adopted last year is a milestone. And the 2016-2020 National Strategy on Protection from Domestic Violence has been another major element in the overall architecture to combat domestic violence. I hope that the new Strategy and Action Plan for the next five years as well as the amended Law on Protection against Domestic Violence, which is now pending adoption, can be approved as soon as possible by the new Kosovo government.”
Major Ramadan Ahmeti, Deputy Head of Community Policing, noted that Kosovo’s laws are in line with international standards, but frontline police officers should enhance their skills to effectively deal with domestic violence cases.
“The first responders’ work can contribute to the increase of the level of trust for Kosovo Police. When an officer is trained, experienced and professional, the survivors will also approach them and communicate easier with them. We need to identify the shortcomings and address them properly so that we are there for the survivors and serve as a great example to the society. The priority is to respect the law. There are no other alternatives to that,” Ahmeti said.
The Head of Kosovo Police’s Training Unit, Lt. Colonel Zylfije Krasniqi, said that Kosovo Police needs to receive further support for the first responders to domestic violence cases. “It is of utmost importance to receive additional specialized training courses and EU expertise for first responders,” Krasniqi said.
The training course is part of EULEX’s work to improve cooperation and interaction with regard to domestic violence cases among all relevant stakeholders and service providers. Under its current mandate, EULEX has made gender-based violence into a specific thematic area under its monitoring functions with the aim to support law enforcement through specific findings and recommendations and to provide targeted assistance.