Violence Against Women in Montenegro
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Population of women: 317,800/625,500
Life expectancy of women (at birth): 77
Unemployment of women: 35.5%

: U.N. Statistics Division, Social Indicators, updated June 2011




 last updated April 2010


Montenegro is an independent and sovereign state with a republican form of government. Montenegro gained independence at the Referendum held on 21 May 2006 when 55.5% of citizens voted in favor of independence. The Constitution of Montenegro was adopted on 19 October 2007. The first presidential elections after independence were held on 6 April 2008. There were four candidates for president and none of them was a woman. In the direct election, Filip Vujanovic was elected as President of Montenegro with 51.89% of votes, for a period of 5 years. The Parliament of Montenegro is the highest legislative and representative body of citizens elected in direct and secret elections. On 27 January 2009, President Vujanovic called early parliamentary elections - the first parliamentary elections since Montenegrin independence. Elections were held on 29 March 2009 and the electoral list “European Montenegro” won 48 of total 81 seats in the Montenegrin Parliament. The President of Parliament is Ranko Krivokapic, while vice presidents are Zeljko Sturanovic and Rifat Rastoder. Women comprise only 11% of women in the Montenegrin Parliament. The Government of Montenegro is the executive body appointed by the Parliament. The President of Montenegro proposes the Prime Minister to the Parliament, and the Prime Minister states his program and proposes ministers to the Parliament. The Government consists of the Prime Minister, 3 Deputy Ministers and 19 Ministers, and there is only one woman Minister, who is the head of the Ministry for European Integration. The officials symbols of Montenegro (flag, emblem and anthem) were adopted at Parliament’s session held on 12 July 2004. Montenegrin National Day is 13 July and Independence Day is 21 May.

Discrimination against Women

The Montenegrin Constitution in Article 8 says that any direct or indirect discrimination on any ground is forbidden. This article is gender neutral and discrimination is not defined in the Constitution. However, women are discriminated against in Montenegro in all life spheres.

In October 2006 Montenegro ratified the UN Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol, but the public is not familiar enough with the content of this document. The Government of Montenegro, at the session held on 24 February 2010, adopted the Initial Report on implementation of CEDAW on the proposal of the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights.

Gender equality - Mechanisms for gender equality

According to the Montenegrin Constitution “everybody is equal before the law” regardless of any feature or personal virtue. The State guarantees equality of woman and man and it develops equal possibilities policies (Article 18) and marriage is based on equality of spouses (Article 72).

Gender equality in Montenegro is also regulated by the Gender Equality Law, which was adopted on 24 July 2007 by the Parliament and entered into force on 8 August 2007. The Government of Montenegro, in its session on 31 July 2008, adopted the Action Plan for the Achievement of Gender Equality in Montenegro for the period 2008-2012, which was developed by the Gender Equality Office.

Institutional mechanisms for gender equality also include the Parliamentary Gender Equality Committee and the Department for Gender Equality within the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights.

The Gender Equality Committee of the Montenegrin Parliament was established on 11 July 2001 to monitor and promote the human rights and freedoms concerning gender equality that are guaranteed under the Constitution. The Committee’s duties include: reviewing draft legislation to ensure the promotion of gender equality; endorsing international documents on gender equality; recommending measures to advance gender equality in the fields of education, healthcare, public awareness, social policies, employment, entrepreneurship, families and decision-making processes; participating in the development of programs on gender equality that coincide with the European Union’s standards; and cooperating with NGOs that focus on gender equality.

The Gender Equality Office was established by the Decision of the Government of Montenegro on March 27th 2003 (Official Gazette of the Republic of Montenegro, no. 20/03). In 2009, the Gender Equality Office transformed into the Department for Gender Equality within the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights of Montenegro. The Department performs tasks related to the implementation of the principle of gender equality and implementation of international conventions and contracts needed for the Government of the Republic of Montenegro. Every four months the Department organizes a Forum for Dialogue with NGOs which address gender equality issues and women’s human rights.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a widespread problem in Montenegro. It is a patriarchal society with traditional views on gender roles in a family and in a community. Power belongs to men and women are the ones who obey. For the most part, the public thinks that domestic violence is a private problem of the family.  

In November 2003 the Montenegrin Government adopted the National Action plan for the Prevention of Violence, but this document was not implemented, and thus did not contribute to the problem-solving process.

In Montenegro, domestic violence is punishable by Article 220 of the Criminal Code of Montenegro. On 1 April 2010, the Montenegrin Government adopted the Proposal of the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence which is expected to be adopted by the Parliament by the end of 2010.



Number of claims to the Police Department of Montenegro[1]

Number of processed claims


Number of not-processed claims[2]




SOS Hotline Niksic data

Number of women placed in Crisis Centre


Number of children placed in Crisis Centre


Number of cases 


Number of calls to SOS line




According to the data of the Police Department of Montenegro for year 2009, they filed 938 claims related to diverse assaults on women. From this number, most of the claims (445 of them) were based on Article 220 of the Criminal Code of Montenegro. 

In 2009, SOS hotline Niksic received 614 calls from 91 women victims of violence. Out of this number of beneficiaries, 62 received free legal assistance and 53 went through group and individual psychology counseling.

Sexual Assault

Rape is punished under Article 204 of the Criminal Code. Any person who forces another to engage in sexual intercourse or other similar act may be punished by a prison sentence of two to ten years. Sexual intercourse by threat to honor or dignity may also be punished by one to eight years imprisonment. The prison sentence increases to a maximum sentence of eighteen years if specific aggravating factors are present. Other provisions of the Criminal Code also punish sexual offences, including sexual intercourse with a juvenile (Article 206), sexual intercourse by abuse of position (Article 207), other punishable sexual acts (Article 208), and the procurement and permitting of such sexual abuse (Article 209). Spousal rape is also an offense under the Criminal Code.

Human Trafficking

Trafficking in human beings is prohibited by the Article 444 of the Criminal Code, with a maximum punishment of 12 years in prison. In February 2001 the Government of Montenegro established the position of the National Coordinator for the Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings. The Office of the National Coordinator coordinates the work of the governmental agencies, nongovernmental and international organizations involved in combating trafficking in persons.

In October 2003 the Republic of Montenegro adopted the National Strategy for Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings, which addresses the prosecution, protection and prevention of trafficking in persons. It sets forth means of combating the problem, such as public awareness campaigns, education of employees at the institutions and organizations, addressing protection of victims, and legislative reform in order to harmonize it with international standards.

Since the beginning of 2006, the government has financially supported the shelter for victims of trafficking in human beings (previously financed by the International Organization for Migration), which is operated by the NGO Montenegrin Women’s Lobby. At the session on held on 21 January 2010 the Government adopted the Action Plan for the implementation of the National Strategy for period 2010/2011.


By Article 62 of the Constitution “Everyone has the right to work, free choice of profession and employment, fair and humane working conditions and protection during the time of unemployment,“ but women in Montenegro are in more subordinate positions than men. Men have the advantage when it comes to employment, even if women have better qualifications. They are forced to work at low-paid jobs and in the “black” market where they don’t have covered insurance and paid taxes, even though the Constitution says that women enjoy special protection at work.

Maternity leave is regulated by Articles 11, 108 and 111 of the Labor Law. Article 108 says that the “employer cannot refuse to sign an employment contract with pregnant women”, but it is one of common reasons why women don’t get a job or lose employment.  




[1] Local Offices Kolasin and Budva did nit submit their data

[2] Local Offices Berane and Bijelo Polje did not submit their data on not-proccessed claims