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North Macedonia

Population size:

2 million [1]

Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year:

Police Data in 2004 reported 2,434 complaints of domestic violence of which 1,000 victims were wives, 460 parents, and 175 were children and other family members (aunts, uncles, and husbands) in big families with members spanning several generations. [2]

Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and Equality of Women (ESE) in 2006 showed that every second Macedonian women was a victim of psychological violence, every sixth experienced physical abuse, whereas 10% reported sexual violence at home.

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of domestic abuse to the economy each year:

No research.

Estimated % change due to COVID-19:

NGO Organization of Women of the City of Skopje reported a 7% increase in the number of calls to their helpline. [3]

Current law and policy:

There have been significant achievements in the area of policy development: new legislation; harmonisation for human rights protection; prevention of violence against women. The Istanbul Convention was ratified 2018. Introduced a Law for Prevention and Protection from Domestic Violence 2014 and a Government National Coordination Body for Domestic Violence Prevention.

Violence against women is the most common form of human rights violation and women’s safety is thus a high-priority public health problem. Significant achievements in the area of policy development including legislation; harmonisation for human rights protection; prevention of violence against women; protocols for the treatment and support of victims and further coordination between different sectors. However, in practice, need to establish a system of institutions effective for prevention, protection, gathering evidence and support of victims, in addition to the prosecution of perpetrators .[4]

Legislation, harmonisation and enforcement includes: Ratification of a variety of UN Human Rights treaties etc.; Istanbul Convention was ratified in 2018; 2003/2004 amendments on the family law and law for social protection, as well as the Crime Code for secondary prevention, particularly sanctioning the perpetrators and protection of victims of domestic violence; Law for Prevention and Protection from Domestic Violence 2014 including bylaws for the implementation of this law developed in 2015; Law for Evidence in Health 2009 reporting of violence has become mandatory for health professionals in a special individual report for violence; First shelter opened in 2004 in Skopje for victims of domestic violence; and Governmental National Coordination Body for Domestic Violence Prevention established with government approval in 2009. Includes representatives from WHO, ministries of health and other NGOs who were responsible for the implementation of the National Strategy for the protection against domestic violence. 

Generally positive but there is a need for the Government to provide resources and undertake measures and activities to respond to cultural change in social systems and to improve efficiency and effectiveness of legal mechanisms for the protection of women. 

Women in North Macedonia are disproportionately affected by domestic and gender-based violence. 82% of domestic violence survivors are women, and men receive 93% of domestic violence convictions. There is significant need for research into gender-based violence.[5]

The general belief is that domestic violence is a private matter to be handled within the family. A high number hold this belief compared to women across the EU. Some women consider minor violence to be normal behaviour. This is more prominent amongst Albanian speaking women. Reasons for this: lack of trust in institutions; feelings of shame or fear of repercussions. [6]

The greatest unmet needs women identified were the lack of financial aid and long-term shelters. Do not have sustainable funding where there are shelters. The first national survey on domestic violence conducted in 2012 within framework of a programme called ‘strengthening national capacities to prevent domestic violence’. Focus was domestic violence against women, men and children. 39% of women had experienced domestic violence.[7]

National legislative framework and implementation [8] ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) in July 2018.

The criminal law addresses domestic violence and breaches of human rights generally, with several criminal acts considered aggravated if they are committed within a close personal relationship. 2014 Law on the Prevention of and Protection against Domestic Violence. The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights reported to CEDAW Committee in 2018 that domestic violence is the only form of gender-based violence which is regulated. Since the demise of the National Co-ordination Body for Domestic Violence in 2011, the Ministry of Interior is the only national state body mentioned in official UN sources as an institutional mechanism that deals with violence against women. Envisages the formation of a national co-ordinating centre against domestic violence with a five-year mandate to include representatives from relevant ministries, politicians, the judiciary and civil society organisations.[9]

Public spending - A report on the costs of domestic violence against women in Macedonia was published in 2006. However, the sample size was small. The results give some indication of the costs as between 26,360,181 MKD (€425,183) and 34,424,994 MKD (€553,711) covering: NGO sector: 10,986,487 MKD; Social system: 8,105,439 - 11,681,212 MKD; Police: 4,852,335 - 7,699,225 MKD; Courts: 2,182,190 – 3,575,670 MKD; and Prosecution service: 253,730 - 482,400 MKD.[10]

Joint UN Program “Strengthening National Capacities to Prevent Domestic Violence” from December 2008- August 2012 provided $70,000 to the Republic of Macedonia.[11]



[1] Worldometer, “North Macadonia Population (Live)”, (

[2] Tozija F, Gjorgjev D, Jordanova Peshevska D, Raleva M. Violence Against Women in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Entre Nous the European Magazine for Sexual and Reproductive Health. UNFPA (2005). p. 24–5

[10] GANCHEVA, Y. et al. (2006). The Costs of Domestic Violence against Women in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: A Costing Exercise for 2006. Economic Policy Research Institute, Skopje



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