Support services for women with mental disabilities


The coor­di­na­tor of the SOS ser­vice of the Orga­ni­za­tion IZ KRUGAVOJVODINA, 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 KRUGAVOJVODINA

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.



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Services …Iz kruga – Vojvodina


Services ...Iz kruga – Vojvodina
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Helpline for women with and without disabilities experiencing violence
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Psychological support
Organizing gynecological examination for women with disabilities
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