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International Experts’ Conference marking the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, 15 June


On 14 and 15 June this year at the Pedagogical Faculty in Krakow, Poland, International Experts’ Conference of Elder Abuse Prevention and Protection was organised by the Faculty, International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP). The main topics of the Conference were prevention of and protection from elder abuse with the themes discussed being the need for adoption of a new UN Convention on the Rights of Older People, the legal frameworks of different countries, but also the specific groups at risk. Experts from 11 countries and all continents participated in the Conference. Following the invitation by the Pedagogical Faculty in Krakow, Red Cross of Serbia experts Natasa Todorovic and Dr Milutin Vracevic participated in the Conference while Natasa Todorovic also participated in the organisation committee.

On the first day of the Conference Dr Milutin Vracevic presented the results of the research on elder abuse in the Republic of Serbia underlining that the first step in understanding this problem is collection of age-sensitive data. Natasa Todorovic talked about the importance of public campaigns, education for and provision of information to older people, as well as the significance of partnership, but she also presented the examples of good practice from the Red Cross of Serbia.

On the second day of the Conference, Natasa Todorovic moderated a panel discussion entitled “Protection of Older People”. Experts from Canada, Poland, Nepal and Serbia participated in this discussion. Natasa Todorovic spoke about the analysis of the legal framework for protection of older people and the recommendations on how to improve the laws.

At the Conference, representative of INPEA, Susan Somers handed the memorial award Rosalie S. Wolf for 2018 to Natasa Todorovic and Milutin Vracevic. This award is awarded to “individuals who have demonstrated dedication and commitment to the ideals of Rosalie Wolf to prevent and reduce elder abuse and promote awareness through one or more of the following: research, education, policy, practice.”

The Conference conclusions are that it is necessary to work more on informing older people and general public, to organise campaigns, support and encourage lifelong learning, educate professionals (healthcare and social workers, judges, prosecutors, as well as bank staff), improve legal frameworks at national and global level and continue to advocate for the new UN Convention on the Rights of Older People.