n the 25th of November 2020 the Croatian National Call Centre for Victims of Crime -116 006 opened a 24h helpline, that provides support to victims and witnesses, that is a part of the system for violence prevention and protection of victims of gender based violence. The 24/7 helpline was opened as a part of a project called „Stop violence against women and domestic violence – There is no justification for violence“ initiated by the Croatian Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy and financed by the European Social Fund. The Croatian National Call Centre for Victims of Crime was founded on the 16th July 2013, as a joint project of Victim And Witness Support Service Croatia, the Croatian Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which made the Republic of Croatia the fifth European country that introduced a free of charge European standardized number for victim and witness support – 116 006.
The National Call Centre for Victims of Crime helpline continues being free of charge and anonymous. Callers from anywhere in Croatia can get support 7 days a week, including weekends and public holidays, 0-24h in Croatian and English.
By calling the National Call Centre for Victims of Crime helpline callers can receive emotional support, information about their rights, information about criminal or misdemeanor procedures, assistance in completing the cash benefit claim form and a referral to relevant civil society organizations and institutions. The helpline is thus an integral part of the victims of crimes support system, especially for victims of domestic violence who are the helpline’s most frequent callers. Based on the statistics, the callers of 116 006 helpline are mostly women (76%). Even though the helpline is open to victims and witnesses of any type of crime, the most frequent calls are in regards to rape, domestic violence, criminal harassment (stalking), grievous bodily harm and threats.
Victims of domestic violence, in addition to having their basic rights violated, suffer from various physical, psychological, social and economic issues as a consequence of the harmful event, hence having a right to seek and receive help and support in dealing with the challenging situations they have found themselves in through no fault of their own. Calling the 116 006 helpline allows the callers to step into an active role. With the relevant information and support they have a chance to make independent and informed decisions about their own wellbeing, which are a key part of the process of recovery and restoring the sense of personal autonomy.