Croatian Language

Mission and objective

Misija i ciljevi Autonomous Women’s House Zagreb is feminist, non-governmental and non-profit organization, which priory is working in civil society. AWHZ was founded on December 14th, 1990, in order to respond on need for safe shelter for women and their children exposed to violence - psychical, psychological, sexual, economical or institutional.

Mission of AWHZ: providing support and help to women which survived violence and empowerment of women’s position in society.

Main content of activities of AWHZ is providing support and help to women and their children which are expose to psychical and psychological violence in the family, as well as other forms of patriarchal violence, regardless on their nationality, religion, marital status., age, color of the skin, sexual orientation, or any other type of discrimination.


  • Physical security and protection of women and children through the secrecy of  the shelter in a period up to 12 months
  • Physical and psychological recovery and empowerment of women and children (symptoms and difficulties decreased or vanished), and dealing with egzistential problems of women
  • State responsibility for protection of women against violence
  • Improvement of the position of women survivors of domestic violence
  • enhancement of legal protection and institutional support for significantly higher number of women; because we expecting that through lobbying for the rights of our clients in state institutions positive practice for all clients will progress and improve and creation of new benchmarks in treatment if women victims of domestic violence in institutional practice
  • improvement of implementation of new legislation and functioning of protection measures
  • Increasing of public awareness in concrete problems in realization of human rights of abused women through media, public discussions, campaign, street actions, distribution of materials and brochures etc.
  • improvement of reporting the public institutions and international organizations about problem of violence against women through results of our work and analyses of social, legislative and institutional position of abused women
  • opening of new shelters for women


  • we provide a safe shelter in secure and secret location for women and their children;
  • we inform the women of their basic human right to live free of violence;
  • we inform women of all their other rights (social rights, working rights, information on employment, housing, schooling for the children, continuing education for the women with the purpose of getting better jobs…);
  • we work on strengthening the women so they can take control over their lives;
  • we act as an intermediary between the women (and their children) and the relevant institutions (social, legal, medical, educational, humanitarian, and so forth);
  • we provide free and anonimous legal and psychological help and support to women;
  • we pressure the institutions (social services, the police, the D.A.’s office, judiciary, health services) to recognize their legal and other obligations toward women, and to react in order to prevent abuse and to improve the situation for women, thus improving the status of women’s rights in Croatia;
  • we promote non-violent methods of communication as models of conduct
  • we raise the public awareness of male violence against women and its prevention through public campaigns and media work;
  • we lobby at the Croatian Government, relevant governmental institutions, Ministry of Justice and the Croatian public for changes in the law and for improvement of women’s status in Croatia;
  • we translate, write and publish important books and materials concerning the violence against women.


The direct beneficiaries of the programme are:

Abused women and their children who survived violence in their families by their husbands/partners/fathers.  They need an urgent and safe shelter on secret location.  Contrary to the prejudice, these women come from all classes, they have different levels of education, different nationalities and religious backgrounds, even different citizenships. We do not have specific statistics for all these characteristics, but about 52% of women have a Highschool level education, 20% higher education, and 15 % grade school education. About 56% of women are employed. Their average age ranges from 30 to 40. Most have 1 – 3 children.

Direct beneficiaries are also women who have left the shelter (with their children), but they still need help.  These women often ask for counselling from the workers at the shelter. 

Direct beneficiaries are also the women who come to the Women’s Counseling Center (200-300 women per month), seeking legal, psychological, emotional and practical support.

We do not have specific statistics, but about 52% of women have a Highschool level education, 20% higher education, and 15 % grade school education. About 56% of women are employed. Their average age ranges from 30 to 40. About 70% have children. Most have 1 – 3 children.


The indirect beneficiaries are:

  1. Women’s and other NGO’s in Croatia, who work with the problem of violence against women, so they often ask for help and counsel in order to better understand the problem, as well as to exchange experience (about 30 organizations).
  2. State institutions, such as Social welfare centers, the police, the legal institutions, hospitals and other institutions which send women to us and cooperate with us.



We have received the City of Zagreb Award in 2000, for founding a shelter for women and children victims of violence, the only one in Croatia and the first one in this part of Europe, for acting for prevention and suppression of violence, and for raising the public awareness in fighting against domestic violence For significant contribution to development of democracy and law, and for promoting human, civil and political rights, tolerance and social justice in Croatia, we received the Velimir Terzić Award from Croatian Social-Liberal Party on Dec. 13th, 2000. For consistent work with victims of domestic violence, on Sept. 29th, 2003 we received the Ministry of Interior Affairs Award (the police). In 2000, AWHZ was chosen, among 20,000 NGOs, to represent the development of civil society in Croatia at the EXPO fair in Hanover.