Help does not end with placement in a shelter

Marina Medojević warned that the victim of violence, by entering the shelter, lost her right to MOP and child benefits, the Ministry of Social Welfare says that this is not and must not be the case

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Entering a shelter for victims of violence should not be the reason for the suspension of rights from social protection (illustration), Photo: Shutterstock
Entering a shelter for victims of violence should not be the reason for the suspension of rights from social protection (illustration), Photo: Shutterstock
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

Accommodation in a shelter is not a reason for the termination of the right to material security (MOP) and no victim of domestic violence who is in such accommodation should have that right revoked for that reason.

This is what the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (MRSS) told "Vijesta" yesterday.

They responded to the editorial's inquiry about the case of a woman with four children, who, as a victim of violence, was placed in the shelter of the organization SOS Telefon Nikšić, and who, while announcing that she would leave the shelter, told RTCG that upon entering her, all his income was terminated, and he has to urgently look for a job.

President of the Food Bank Marina Medojević, who informed the public about the case, told "Vijesti" yesterday that "for some reason, social benefits are suspended for the victims and their children upon entering the shelters".

"And this case shows that the same right can be recognized during their stay in the shelter. Unfortunately, we have a document that confirms that upon entering the shelter you lose your MOP. "This woman's child benefit for each child was canceled," Medojević said.

MRSS clarified that the reasons for the termination of the right to material security are changes that affect the exercise and amount of the right.

They state that the user, i.e. his legal representative, adopter, guardian or foster parent, is obliged to report any change to the center for social work within 15 days from the day of the change.

They also said that the right to material security will be revoked for any user or users who do not report a change in the address of any family member, compared to the primary one given when exercising the right, or any information that is important for exercising the right.

"The beneficiary was aware of all of the above, as well as everyone who exercises any right through the center for social work," said the department. Naide Nišić.

They also explained the procedure for exercising rights and entitlements in case of placement in a shelter.

They said that the right to material security is realized after the beneficiary submits a request to the center for social work with complete documentation, which is required for the realization of the right, and the center, according to the law, determines that all conditions have been met.

They also add that any victim of domestic violence who submits a request to the center for social work or the Ministry of Social Affairs can exercise the right to one-time financial assistance, in accordance with the assessment of expert workers. In addition, as they said, assistance can be granted in the form of purchase vouchers.

"Accommodation in a reception center-shelter is not an obstacle to the exercise of any of the aforementioned rights, but the Law must be respected when it comes to procedures. In this regard, we invite all users to listen to the advice and instructions they received from professional workers", said the MRSS.

They also added that, according to the Rulebook on closer conditions for provision and use, norms and minimum standards of the accommodation service in the shelter-shelter, the beneficiary has the right to stay in the shelter for up to 12 months.

In the specific case, as they said, they were informed by the service provider, namely the organization SOS Telefon Nikšić, that "at no time was the user asked to leave the shelter, either in writing or verbally".

"Service providers of shelters, with whom centers for social work collaborate on a daily basis, strive to provide a full service to all users, not only accommodation, but also counseling, therapy, legal representation, a confidential person... Publishing unverified information to the public damages reputation which these service providers have built with their dedicated work and dedication for dozens of years", said the Department of Social Welfare.

They also add that CSW and MRSS "will undertake all necessary activities in order to provide maximum protection to all victims of violence".

"And in order to change all legal solutions that will facilitate procedures for the most vulnerable categories of the population," said the department.

They appealed to the media to respect the Protocol on handling, prevention and protection against violence against women and domestic violence and to be guided by the Manual for reporting on gender-based violence against women, "so that every victim is protected in public, in order to present accurate and true data in order to protect the interests of all victims of violence".

The NGO SOS Nikšić later "remembered" that they had a beneficiary with four children

Two days ago, the NGO SOS Telefon Nikšić told "Vijesta" that "there is not a single woman who corresponds" to the allegations published by the media - a single mother with four minor children, who leaves a safe women's house without a settled status - without money and system support.

And Marina Medojević asks why the shelter, where the victim is housed, told the lie.

"Did they count on the fact that the mother, the victim of violence, would not come forward and deny their allegations? Were they ready, claiming that they have no such case, to present me as someone who is not telling the truth, that I am probably making up a woman and her children", Medojević asked.

When asked why they denied that the victim was with them, the NGO SOS Nikšić now claims that "at that moment, the SOS shelter did not recognize or consider the need to stop providing SOS shelter services for any user and her children".

"During the conversation between SOS shelter staff and users about media allegations, one of the users confirmed that she was planning to leave the shelter and that she had turned to the Food Bank for help," the NGO SOS Telephone Nikšić said yesterday.

Medojević says that if the state or local self-government allocates money for the work of the shelter, they must also monitor the work.

"Why is there no way that, if the shelters do not have the possibility to buy jackets and umbrellas for the children, and the children have to go to school, do humanitarian actions and collect aid, so that the children and women victims of violence at least have the necessities while they are in the shelter? We all know that young people leave their homes by running away," she says.

From the shelter they can work and look for work

A woman with four children who announced that she will leave the shelter in Nikšić, also said that she is doing so because she has to find a job.

The NGO SOS telephone Nikšić told "Vijesta" yesterday that the beneficiaries continue with their daily routines even while they are in the accommodation.

"Which means that employed women continue to go to work regularly, and unemployed women, in accordance with their decisions, look for work without any restrictions. The staff of the SOS shelter prepares three-month individual service plans together with the women and provides them with help and support in accordance with the priorities", they told the editorial office.

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