In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, designated by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 66/127, we are proud to highlight our ongoing commitment to combating violence against older persons through the “Age Against the Machine” project. This project, supported by the European Commission under the CERV – Network of Towns program, is a crucial part of our efforts to address the causes and consequences of ageism and to confront discrimination and violence against older people.

“Age Against the Machine” is an intergenerational initiative that aims to create an international solidarity network of six cities dedicated to publicly advocating against ageism. By employing a variety of participatory theatre methodologies, the project explores, presents, and reassesses existing discriminatory practices targeting older citizens, particularly older women, in different areas of social life.

The overarching goal of “Age Against the Machine” is to enhance awareness, knowledge, and interest among European citizens and decision-makers regarding aging and the position of the older population. Through artistic theatrical expression, with a special focus on community theatre, we strive to shed light on the issues faced by older persons and to promote a society that values and protects its older members.

The project is led by the Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture Foundation (Serbia), in partnership with Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium (Holstebro, Denmark), Teatr Brama (Goleniów, Poland), University of Evora (Portugal), Red Cross Serbia, Compagnia Il Melarancio Cooperativa Sociale Ets (Cuneo, Italy), and Trupa Drz Ne Daj (Novi Sad, Serbia), with the East Netherlands Development Agency as an associated partner.

The project includes a series of planned activities: six premieres of theatre performances involving intergenerational communities in the partner countries (Poland, Serbia, Portugal, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands), and five “Age Against the Machine” festivals in the partner cities (Holstebro, Cuneo, Evora, Goleniów, Novi Sad). At the concluding conference in Belgrade, the Serbian Red Cross will present a written set of recommendations as a project legacy, intended for decision and policymakers, media, and the expert public at both national and European levels. Additionally, the University of Evora will monitor the project’s methodological efficiency and innovations, with findings to be presented in a scientific paper.

On this World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we reaffirm our dedication to protecting the rights and dignity of older persons. Through the “Age Against the Machine” project, we stand united against ageism and older persons abuse, working towards a more inclusive and respectful society for all ages.

Elder abuse comes in many forms. It can be financial, emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, or social. Elder abuse can occur once, or many times and can vary in severity from subtle through to extreme. It can include one or a combination of the different types of abuse.

Most often, elder abuse is carried out by someone known to the older person, with two thirds of abusers being an adult child. Abusers can also be other family members, relatives, or friends.

Elder abuse affects people of all genders and all walks of life. The abuse, however, disproportionately affects women – two-thirds of people seeking help from SRV are women.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and LGBTQI+ communities are additionally vulnerable, as are older people living in rural and regional communities.

Take care !