Gender differences in war-related disappearance in Croatia (1991-1995)

Slavica Jurčević, Mirela Vlastelica, James Allen, Solveig Dahl

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From 1991-1995, the war in Croatia cost tens of thousands of lives (approximately 11834 persons killed between 1991-1994), and human rights abuses led to significant numbers of disappeared persons (3052). A total of 2395 families were searching for one disappeared person and 168 families of disappeared were searching for more than one person. 2035 men were reported disappeared and 528 women. However, while the majority or 60% (1226) of the men were between the ages of 18-49, 83% (438) of the women were between the ages of 50-96. Though the majority of missing persons of both genders were civilians, the disappeared women were more likely to be civilians (99%) than the disappeared men (52%), though only 23% of the men were regular army military personnel. The majority (55%) of men were previously engaged in paid employment, while 81% of women were farm or housewives, or pensioners. Most men (53%) were reported by informants to have disappeared outside of their home, while the majority (75%) of women disappeared from their home. Among those searching for the disappeared, 27% of those searching for men believed the person was alive or might still be alive, in contrast, only 18% of those searching for women believed them still alive. An important gender difference occurred in the pattern of disappearance in Croatia; most disappeared men were of combatant age, employed, and similar to the general population in key demographic characteristics, while most disappeared women were rural, less educated, and elderly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatria Danubina
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Disappeared persons
  • Gender differences
  • Sociodemographic characteristics
  • War in Croatia


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