Support services for women with mental disabilities

Category: News

The coordinator of the SOS service of the Organization … IZ KRUGA – VOJVODINA, Ivana Zelic, was hired as a lecturer in the training Support to Women with Mental Disabilities. The training lasted from Monday, October 26 until Sunday, November 1, 2020 in Hotel Vojvodina in Zrenjanin.

The training was realized within the project Accessibility of services for women with disabilities who survived violence in residential institutions, organized by the Initiative for the Rights of Persons with Mental Disabilities MDRI-S and FemPlatz, with the support of the United Nations Trust Fund for the Eradication of Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund).

Ivana spoke about the sexual and reproductive rights and health of women with disabilities, support services for women with disabilities who are in a situation of violence and practical experiences.

– I was invited by the organizers of the training because of my many years of experience in working with women with different types of disabilities and experience in working with women with mental disabilities who live in residential institutions. My impression is that the topics of violence against women with mental disabilities and especially the sexual and reproductive rights and health of women with disabilities, are still little talked about and known. These are topics that require a lot of extra work. Some of the participants met for the first time with the topics of sexuality and violence against women with disabilities, while some participants have work experience. The most frequently asked questions refer to the way in which a woman with experience of violence turns for support, what specific questions to ask and where to refer her. It is not the same to support a woman who is in an institution and a woman who is outside an institution who is in violence. Representatives of organizations of women with disabilities who participated in the seminar assessed the capacities of their organizations and the way in which they can provide support to women living in the institution and women with disabilities in general – says Ivana.

Photo: Ivana Zelic, SOS Service Coordinator … IZ KRUGA – VOJVODINA

In the context of the project, institutional violence is violence that occurs in residential and psychiatric institutions and supported housing services. It covers various types of violence against women committed by other beneficiaries, employees in institutions or persons outside institutions.

The primary beneficiaries are women with mental disabilities who are in institutional accommodation or have a history of institutionalization, who are working on empowerment and information on prevention and mechanisms of protection against violence, self-advocacy and the creation of informal forms of self-help.

The key topics of the training were: characteristics of living in a residential institution, deinstitutionalization / re-institutionalization, society’s attitude towards women with disabilities, sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities, characteristics of gender-based violence in residential institutions and business capacity of women with disabilities.

The purpose of the training is for women with disabilities, especially those who have survived institutional violence, to have a higher level of support than organizations that provide services to women in situations of violence.

The trainers were Kosana Beker and Biljana Janjic, and the guest lecturer was Maja Popovic from the organization MDRI – S.

Share this post