It is an honor and a challenge for Zagreb Pride to be a partner in this valuable project. We are happy to give our contribution to the research on dating and domestic violence between female same-sex couples and violence against transgender women, and at the same time to work on raising awareness against violence. Below are some findings pertaining to Croatia we would like to point out.
The problem of violence among LGBTIQ couples in Croatia has not been systematically addressed so far. Nevertheless, some of the research conducted with LGBTIQ population had shown the need for further study of this issue. While the figures indicating violence committed by an unknown person or a family member are much higher, the cases of violence experienced from a partner remains unknown. The study conducted by Aleksandra Pikic and Ivana Jugovic for the Lesbian Group Kontra in 2006 on a sample of 202 LGB persons (Violence against lesbians, gays and bisexuals in Croatia: research report) has found two cases where the perpetrator of economic violence was the partner same as the number of cases where the perpetrator was a family member, the employer and a friend. Also, there were single cases were the partner was the perpetrator of psychological, physical and sexual violence.
Furthermore, in a research of the Lesbian Organization LORI from 2007, conducted on a sample of 592 LGBTQ persons (Needs Assessment of sexual and gender minorities in Croatia), 3.5% of the respondents reported that the perpetrator of the experienced violence was their partner. When asked if they had ever experienced physical violence by a partner, 6% reported that they did so in a samesex relationship, while 4.1% in a differentsex relationship. According to 2013 field-research by Zagreb Pride and LORI (Brutal Reality: A Research Study Investigating AntiLGBTIQ Violence, Discrimination and Hate Crime in Croatia) on a sample of 690 LGBTIQ persons, the partners were the perpetrators of violence in 7% of the cases.
With regard to the sex/gender identity of the victims, all above listed studies show that the respondents who identify as women experienced more sexual violence than those who identify as men. Moreover, transgender persons experience more of all the types of violence in comparison with cisgender persons. Also, persons whose partners are partially aware of their sex/gender identity experienced more sexual violence than those whose partners are completely aware of their sex/gender identity.
Furthermore, the percentages of persons who did not report the violence to the police or to LGBTIQ organizations are alarming. According to the Kontra’s study from 2006, 80% of the persons who experienced violence in the period between 2002 and 2005 did not report the violence to the police, and 78% of them did not report it to organizations Kontra or Iskorak.
The findings of the 2013 Zagreb Pride and LORI study indicate that only 53 persons (7.7%) reported the violence to the police, from which 22 had negative experience with the officers. Besides, a recent project in which Zagreb Pride participated Litigious Love: Same-sex Couples and Mediation in the European Union showed that samesex couples rarely use juridical protection. This can be explained mostly by the fact that up until 2014, when the Life Partnership Act was adopted, samesex couples did not have legal recognition. During this project, only five cases of dispute between same-sex couples had been found. The main source of power imbalance was based on financial situation, stronger character or communication skills, and differences in the support from family and friends. In cases of domestic violence or strongly opposed interests, mediation turned to be inefficient.