New UN Trust Fund initiative in Moldova aims to protect elderly women from domestic violence

Date: Monday, September 18, 2017

A group of women from Donici village, center of Moldova, who will be involved in advocating for women’s rights in their community. Photo: UN Women/Marina Vatav
A group of women from Donici village, center of Moldova, who will be involved in advocating for women’s rights in their community. Photo: UN Women/Marina Vatav 

HelpAge International, in partnership with Gender Centru, launched a 3-year initiative which aims to inform elderly women in Moldova about their rights and protect them from domestic violence. The project "Ensuring Gender and Age Dimensions of Human Rights are realized in Moldova,” is supported by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund).

The project aims to increase elderly women’s knowledge about their rights, encourage them to access support services, and work with civil society to mobilise eight communities in the south and center of the country to get involved in preventing violence against elderly women.

“Most elderly women keep silence about the abuse that they go through. It was difficult for them to open up and tell us their stories. This hurts us all.” - Claudia Cirja, a volunteer who worked with elderly women, survivors of violence in Carabetovca, a village in the South of Moldova. Photo: UN Women/Marina Vatav
Claudia Cirja, a volunteer who worked with elderly women, survivors of violence in Carabetovca, a village in the South of Moldova. Photo: UN Women/Marina Vatav

“Most elderly women keep silent about the abuse that they go through. It was difficult for them to open up and tell us their stories. This hurts us all. Elderly persons have built our country and have raised and educated new generations. We owe them a lot,” said Claudia Cirja, who has worked as a volunteer to help elderly women, survivors of violence in Carabetovca, a village in the South of Moldova. She will continue to work with communities as part of this initiative in the next three years.

Violence against women is wide spread in Moldova. According to a 2014 study by HelpAge, every third elderly person in Moldova has experienced violence. Two thirds of them are women. Every second elderly person has reported psychological violence, more than a third have been through economic violence, and every sixth have experienced physical violence.

“Abuse against elderly women is a hidden issue, women don’t speak about it. Our goal is to see that every elderly woman knows her rights and that they don’t accept domestic violence as being normal,” said Tatiana Sorocan from HelpAge Moldova at the launch of the project in Chisinau on 12 September.

“For 50 years I was a teacher in Donici school. I always volunteered and will be involved in this initiative as well” - Valentina Petrache. Photo: UN Women/Marina Vatav
“For 50 years I was a teacher in Donici school. I always volunteered and will be involved in this initiative as well” - Valentina Petrache. Photo: UN Women/Marina Vatav

Moldova has signed The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention). The next step for the country is to ratify it.

“In 2017 Moldova has signed the Istanbul Convention. This motivates us, in the Government, to continue working on combating violence against women,” said Anastasia Oceretnii, Deputy Minister of Health, Labour and Social Protection, at the launch.

“Women are the ones who bring change. In every community there are happy families, and elderly women who overcame violence. We have to identify and expand these solutions, “said Corneliu Eftodi, Programme Officer at UN Women in Moldova.

"Ensuring Gender and Age Dimensions of Human Rights are realized in Moldova” project will be realized between 2017-2020. This is the third project funded by UN Trust Fund in Moldova, with previous projects implemented in 2000 and 2008. The UN Trust Fund is the only global grant-making mechanism that is dedicated exclusively to addressing all forms of violence against women and girls. The Fund is managed by UN Women on behalf of the UN System. The funds raised support initiatives that have a tangible and sustainable impact.