Abuse of older people is getting more common globally. Ms. Levin addressed the five types of abuses, including physical, psychological, financial, sexual abuse, and neglect. She highlighted that around 10.6% of elderly people aged 65 years old or above have encountered sexual violence. It is estimated that the extent of elder abuse is increasing, especially in Latin America, the Caribbean, China, South Korea, and India. She explained the model “where do we start?” proposed by the World Health Organization, which is categorized in four levels, namely individual, relationship, community, and societal. Not only does this model explain the risk factors, but also takes into account the interrelation between certain levels. She suggested a UN study on the violence and abuse against older persons should be conducted. “Lack of data is no excuse for the lack of action”, she concluded.
Mr. Hoque stated that the protection of older persons from violence and abuse is a constitutional obligation. The total elderly population in his home country of Bangladesh is more than 12 million; nearly 8% of the total population. The projected number of elderly people by 2050 is going to be 20% of the total population. In Bangladesh, the needs of the elderly are often ignored, and older persons do not get priority in the healthcare system. Many of them are physically abused and are socially marginalized. In addition, poverty is connected with violence and abuse. 30% of the total population lives below the poverty line. Furthermore, causes of violence are due to the weak social safety net, poor financial conditions of older persons, urbanization, and migration. In light of that, the government has various initiatives in protecting the rights of older people, including the Old Age Allowance Program and retirement benefits. Formulation of policies and legislation at the domestic and international levels are necessary to strengthen monitoring of the care giving system.
Meeting Title: Fifth Session of Open Ended Working Group on Ageing – Panel 2: Violence and Abuse against Older Persons
Speakers: Claudia Mahler, German Institute for Human Rights; Silvia Perel-Levin, International Longevity Centre Global Alliance and INPEA; Dr. Milutin Vracević, Health and Care Program Manager, Red Cross of Serbia; Mr. Kazi Reazul Hoque, Fulltime Member, NHRC, Bangladesh
Location: Conference Room 1, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Date: 31 July 2014
Written By WIT representative: Samantha Kong
Edited By: Marli Kasdan