Secretary-General urges protection of older persons from physical, psychological abuse

Two chess players enjoying an outdoor game in New York City’s Central Park. UN Photo/Grunzweig

15 June 2013 – Governments, civil society and communities must re-examine their attitudes towards ageing and ensure older persons are protected from all forms of abuse, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed today, urging for measures to prevent this behaviour.

“Around the world, older persons are tragically subject to psychological, financial or physical abuse,” Mr. Ban said in his message marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

“Unfortunately, too many older persons can be at risk,” he said. “Prejudicial attitudes contribute to the problem.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between four and six per cent of older persons worldwide have suffered from some form of elder abuse. Research also suggests that abuse, neglect and violence against older persons, both at home and in institutions, are much more prevalent than currently acknowledged.

“Today, let us re-examine our attitudes towards ageing and the status and role of older persons,” the UN chief said, urging Governments, civil society, and communities to raise awareness about the challenge.

Mr. Ban emphasized that governments in particular, can help by enacting legislation to protect the abused and prosecute the abuser.

“We owe it to older persons and societies at large to fight ageism in all its forms and enhance the dignity and human rights of older persons everywhere,” he added.


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