We, the all-female team of Expat in Croatia, will always support women, children, vulnerable groups, and all victims of any kind of violence. We disapprove of injustice. We will always speak loud against oppressors, fight for human rights, and believe in a better society.
For these reasons, we are thrilled to introduce you to Udruga Domine, a feminist non-profit and non-governmental organization from Split. Domine promotes women’s rights and encourages the development of a civil society.
Established in 2002, Domine gathers volunteers to participate in projects with an emphasis on changing the patriarchal norms of Croatian society and supporting numerous victims of violence.
During the month of May, Expat in Croatia will host a drive to raise funds to support Domine’s creation of Croatia’s first crisis center in Split. The center will serve as a safe accommodation for women survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
During the lockdown, home was not a safe place for many women in Croatia. Given the restrictions on movement on top of the limited economic options in some cases, victims of domestic violence didn’t have anywhere to go. In response, Domine started functioning like a crisis center.
If you’d like to help support this initiative, click here to learn more.
In this article, we cover:
- Domine’s history
- Domine’s mission
- Domine’s programs
- Expat in Croatia’s Fundraising Campaign
- Past projects
- How to contact Domine
Let’s get to know the women making a difference in Croatia…
The story of the udruga Domine begins in 2002. Seven ladies gathered to establish an association to promote women’s rights and feminist culture. Given that society in Dalmatia (and also in Croatia) is traditionally patriarchal, it was and still is desperately needed.
Udruga Domine was officially registered on July 24, 2003 as a non-profit and non-governmental organization. Their first public activities began in autumn 2003 during the elections for the national parliament. One of their first actions was participation in the global campaign called “16 days of activism against gender-based violence”.
Ever since, Domine has routinely participated in this campaign, which is repeated annually by more than 2000 organizations in more than 150 countries. The goal is to point out that gender-based violence and violence against women are a violation of human rights. This is done through public actions, promotions, debates and workshops.
In 2004, they set up their first office in Split on International Women’s Day. Soon after, Domine started their first project “Empowerment and education of female students of Teacher’s college in Split on equal opportunities and gender equality” in collaboration with Swedish foundation “Kvinna Till Kvinna”.
Domine is a member of the international “V day” movement whose aim is to prevent violence against women and girls. It was founded in 1992 to collect funds for helping female victims of violence and sexual abuse. Every year, the movement promotes a certain group of women who experience violence. Inspired by this movement, Domine founded the first fund for the prevention of violence against women in Dalmatia in 2008.
So far, Domine has organized numerous workshops, campaigns, and other programs. They often cooperate with other feminist associations.
The primary goals of Udrugua Domine are prevention of the violence against women, raising awareness of the media responsibility for promoting women’s rights, and improving protection of women’s sexual and reproductive rights.
They encourage women to be actively included in all segments of social life. They want to encourage change within the Croatian patriarchal society and emphasize the importance of gender equality in hopes of making the civil society, world, and time in which we live better for all.
Domine nurtures a feminist approach to their work with an emphasis on respect, trust, and solidarity. They believe in a modern society without gender, sexual, racial, religious, political, and other discrimination.
Domine believes that equality enables individuals to achieve their personal rights and needs. They point out that every person deserves equal opportunities and freedom to achieve their values and potential.
Udruga Domine has a wide-ranging catalogue of programs including:
- Counseling center
- Education and research
- Women empowerment
These programs are realized through:
- Public advocacy
- Round table discussions
- Street actions
Domine acts within a number of networks on national, European and Euro-Meditarreanean levels. Within these networks, they advocate for changes that will improve women’s position in those areas with a focus on Croatia. They are the only organization in Dalmatia that advocates for women’s rights.
Domine offers legal psycho-social, and general support to women free of charge within their counseling center “Maja Čulić” for women victims of violence and victims of domestic violence. It was named after the first president of the first women organization in Split founded in 1918, which was a counseling center for young mothers. It is the only autonomous center of this type in Dalmatia.
In addition to the support they provide internally, they also connect women to lawyers, psychotherapists, and other necessary services. They cooperate with those in need through counseling. They have more than 100 new cases every year.
Counseling is focused on women, but they are also open to helping all other victims of any kind of violence. Within the counseling sessions, they inform victims about their rights and guide them on next steps. They can provide temporary housing until they are provided with safe shelters, as part of their crisis center.
Counseling working hours (savjetovalište): Monday-Friday 9:00-15:00.
If you are a woman who needs help, you can contact Domine anytime. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Since the beginning of the 2020 and COVID-19 epidemic, the number of criminal offenses of domestic violence in Croatia has increased by 43,4% compared to the same period in 2019. Additionally, domestic violence has increased by 75% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of calls that udruga Domine received from women victims of violence in the area of Split has increased by 70%. In 2 months, they provided as much help to women as they did through the whole 2019. In 2020, they had a 300% increase in the number of hours of support provided to survivors of violence. They gave psychological and financial support, as well as accommodation to more than 70 women.
Since the Croatian government has failed to provide help to women victims of violence, Domine stepped up. They launched a campaign to collect money that would enable them to open the first crisis center in Croatia. The crisis center would provide victims with material, financial, and psychological help including shelter, food, transport, legal support, and testing for COVID-19. Click here to find out how you can give to this campaign.
Since 2007, Domine has conducted a research program that honors women forgotten by the history and people of Dalmatia. They also research violence against women with a focus on Dalmatia.
The goal is to improve tools for tracking violence and educate people on how to recognize violence. A part of this program is an educational tour called “HerStory of Split“.
If you’re just visiting Split and are interested in a different kind of tour, or you live in Croatia and would like to support Domine, give their walking tour a try. It is called “HerStory of Split”, which is focused on how women helped shape the history of Split.
They will teach you about important women from Split’s history who fought for women’s rights and visit all important places that are important for the history of women in Split.
Domine’s volunteers noticed that most tours of Split rarely mention women and their contribution to Split’s history. HerStory of Split is a great way to learn more about Split’s history from another point of view.
Tour duration is 90 minutes and it is given in the English language. One tour can accommodate up to 8 persons.
The price of the tour is 150 kuna per individual. All money earned from tours goes to support Domine’s women counseling center.
Make your reservation for the HerStory of Split tour through Airbnb experiences here.
Domine also has a brochure “Women of Split and Dalmatia – Women Time Machine” (Žene Splita i Dalmacije – ženski vremenoplov), which contains stories about 14 brave women from the history of Split and Dalmatia. It is available here.
This program is focused on political and economic empowerment of women. Domine works with women politicians to raise the awareness on women’s issues and pass on the information they need in creating legislation. They empower women to take active roles and start their own businesses.
Domine has developed programs for elementary and high schools that educate students on gender equality, human rights and democracy. They encourage young people to be involved in a civil society and create interests for women’s rights. Most of their volunteers are young women.
During the month of May, Expat in Croatia will raise funds to support Domine’s creation of Croatia’s first crisis center.
As part of the Istanbul Convention ratified in Croatia in 2018, Croatia was supposed to provide prevention and protection of victims with more efficient crisis centers for support and counseling of victims of violence, 24-hour phone lines, medical and forensic expert teams, safe houses, and greater police powers in dealing with perpetrators of violence. However, the Croatian government has failed in meeting this commitment. Domine is taking up the mantle.
Domine’s crisis center will offer:
- Safe and urgent accommodation for women survivors of violence
- Free legal, psychological, and psycho-social support to women survivors of violence
- Assistance with whatever women may need during accommodation
How you can give
There are three ways you can contribute to this campaign.
#1 If you are in Croatia, you can make a donation directly to Udruga Domine’s bank account here: HR4623600001502858081 If you use this option, please put “Expat in Croatia” in the notes of your payment to help us track the success of our campaign.
#2 If you are outside of Croatia, or would prefer making a donation using a credit card, you may donate directly to Expat in Croatia’s GoFundMe campaign here.
#3 If you’re in Split, you can volunteer your time to help the organization. You can contact Domine using the information below.
#4 Take the HerStory Walking Tour in Split, Croatia hosted by Udruga Domine which highlights how women played a vital role in the history of Split. All proceeds go directly to support Domine’s efforts. Book through Airbnb experiences here.
The occurrence of the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020 has resulted with frequent quarantines and self-isolations. This resulted with a significant increase of domestic violence. Last year, Uber launched a global humanitarian campaign called #MovingWhatMatters, which gave 50.000 free rides to safe houses and shelters.
Domine and Uber cooperated on this campaign to provide free rides to victims of domestic violence and volunteers working in the counseling center totaling 11.600 kuna.