The Red Cross of Serbia and the Gerontological Centre Belgrade continued their cooperation through training for gerontocarers on the topic of prevention of violence against the older persons, with the first day being 15 July. The opening ceremony and the subsequent lecture was held in the cinema hall of the Gerontological Center Belgrade in Zemun, and as part of the project “Empowering Older Women: Preventing Violence through Changing Social Norms in Serbia and Austria (EmPreV)”, implemented by the Red Cross of Serbia in partnership with the Austrian Red Cross and the Austrian Institute for Conflict Research and supported by the European Union, Austrian Development Agency and Austrian Red Cross.

Violence against older women is a violation of human rights, it warns us that it is time to eradicate stereotypes and prejudices against older women that are deeply rooted and tolerated within social norms. It is, on the other hand, a public health issue that affects both the quality of life of older women and their health.

Today’s education is important on two levels, above all it represents the strengthening of partnership between the two institutions – Gerontological Centre Belgrade and the Red Cross of Serbia, which are on the same job, and that is dignified aging whether older persons live in the institution or in their own home. All this, of course, would not be possible without the patronage of the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs and their continuous support. Another important level is the improvement and broadening of knowledge of gerontocarers themselves about the phenomenon of violence against older women, because gerontocarers are one of the most important links in the chain of prevention of violence against this group. By working with older persons they are the first to respond, but they are also the first to pass on knowledge to both older persons and their families.

The opening ceremony was attended by prof. Dr Darija Kisic Tepavcevic, Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, who pointed out how much the work of gerontocarers is a significant part of the system of services for older persons and a key element in preserving their quality of life. The today’s education reaffirms the readiness to talk together about violence against older women, especially in a situation of demographic aging and the feminization of aging, in order to enable older women to live with dignity without discrimination and violence.

Ruth Stewart, Ambassador of Australia in Belgrade, spoke about the cooperation with the Red Cross of Serbia and the short film “Open Your Eyes” made by the Australian Commission for Human Rights and kindly provided for use to the Red Cross of Serbia, which premiered before this lecture, emphasizing the importance of recognizing violence against population of older women and the joint work of all individuals, communities and society in its prevention, reminding everyone that only the joint work of public institutions and civil society has been proven to give results. And that violence against older persons is the tip of the iceberg and all countries are facing this problem.

Ljubomir Miladinovic, Secretary General of the Red Cross of Serbia, spoke about the importance of raising awareness at all levels of society and increasing the knowledge necessary for the prevention of this type of violence. During the implementation of EmPreV project, the Red Cross of Serbia educated older women and recognized the problems they face, but also what kind of violence they notice, and what kind of violence that older women do not perceive as such.

The training was held by Natasa Todorovic and Dr Milutin Vracevic from the Red Cross of Serbia and representatives of the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA). The lecture was attended by 100 gerontocarers of the Gerontological Centre Belgrade, who expressed a desire for this lecture to be organized continuously, because it is important for their work. The second day of training, covering another 100 gerontocarers will be organised on 16 July in the same venue.

 

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