B.a.B.e: Emotional and financial abuse of older people is on the rise

NEWS 23.05.202413:25 0 komentara
Morgue File (Ilustracija)

Almost 20 per cent of older women in Croatia experience physical, psychological, sexual and digital violence as well as economic neglect. This is why the NGO B.a.B.e has launched the PuSHEd project, which offers free legal and psychological help for victims of such violence.

The final conference of the project “puSHEd – Protect, Understand, Support: Help the Elderly” took place on Wednesday.

Older women usually conceal violence and feel ashamed, because in two thirds of cases the perpetrators are family members, usually their adult children. These women are often neglected and financially exhausted, said Ljubica Matijevic-Vrsaljko, a lawyer and former counsellor for the NGO B.a.B.e.

Financial violence is the least mentioned, although it is very present, especially through maintenance agreements until death. Justice is not fast enough in such cases, added lawyer Matijevic-Vrsaljko.

Free legal and psychological help for victims of violence

In response, the implementation of the project “puSHEd – Protect, Understand, Support: Help the Elderly” was started in 2022.

The project was funded by the European Union in partnership with the City of Zagreb and the “Home for Child and Adult Victims of Domestic Violence “Duga-Zagreb” with around €208,000. It is implemented by the non-governmental organisation B.a.B.e with the support of the Ombudswoman, the Association for the Support of Victims and Witnesses and the European Social Network.

At B.a.B.e NGO we offer free legal and psychological help for victims of violence, said Marina Gombar.

The aim is to prevent and suppress gender-based violence against older women by developing gender-specific responses in supporting victims and increasing the capacity of relevant experts from the protection and support system.

The project is based on the Istanbul Convention and promotes gender equality and non-discrimination as core European values for the eradication of gender-based violence against older women.

It also aims to raise awareness and improve the community response to gender-based violence against older women, which means a greater number of reports of violence, but also prevention.

A large number of women do not report violence

After the media campaign, the number of reports via the toll-free number increased by 50% in just two weeks.

The number of women who do not report violence is also high and a national survey should be conducted. The institutions are doing their job, but it is a long-term process and changes need more time, according to the NGO B.a.b.e.

“The violence is often gender-specific, the perpetrator is usually a male family member. The victims ask for support, but they often do not accept it. About 75% of them want to remain anonymous,” said Zeljka Baric, director of the “Duga – Zagreb” shelter for child and adult victims of domestic violence.

She also recorded a 5% increase in the number of shelters compared to the total number of younger victims.

Baric also pointed out that 2018 was the first time they had to accommodate a 75-year-old person due to violence, while last year four people were accommodated and 20 of them reported violence and asked for help.

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