Panel discussion on the occasion of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – Pirot
On Wednesday 14 June 2023, a panel discussion was held in the Congress Hall of the Pirot Municipality Assembly on the occasion of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, with the participation of representatives of the Red Cross of Serbia. In accordance with the theme of this year's commemoration of this date, “Closing the Circle: Addressing Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Older Age - Policy, Law and Evidence-based Responses” the forum discussed the violence against older women in Serbia, relying on the research of the Red Cross of Serbia focusing on this issue.
The event, with thirty participants, was opened by Dr. Milena Dimitrijević, the chairperson of the town assembly and she reminded the audience of the importance of this topic, while Sandra Perić, director of the Chamber for Social Protection, spoke about the protocols and legal acts that should prevent violence against the older persons and older women and ways to improve legal and the washed framework, but also the implementation of the existing regulations so that the prevention of violence would be more effective, and older women survivors of violence would have adequate support.
Nataša Todorović from the Red Cross of Serbia presented some of the results of research on violence against older women in the region, focusing on data for Serbia. She pointed out that the results show that 57% of women over the age of 65 stated that they suffered some form of violence after turning 15, and that 16% had this experience in the year preceding the survey. She also presented the risk factors, perpetrators, consequences of violence, as well as the reasons why violence is reported much less frequently than it happens. Dr. Milutin Vračević from the Red Cross of Serbia spoke about ageism as one of the causes of violence against the older persons and the importance of influencing social norms in the fight against violence against the older persons and older women, recognizing specific forms of violence and risks typical for older women.
Additional recommendations for solving this social and public health problem presented in the event include work on education, the introduction of more numerous and more accessible care services and the provision of support to informal caregivers of older persons. This will reduce the burden of care for those who provide it the most and thus reduce the risks of their burnout, which can lead to violence against a dependent older person. Films from the series on personal care at home intended for informal caregivers, created by the Red Cross of Serbia within the project “Addressing and preventing care needs through innovative community care centres (I-CCC)” with the financial support of the European Union, and the Austrian Development Agency ADA were also presented at the forum.