Virtually all countries are expected to see substantial growth in the number of older persons between 2015 and 2030, and that growth will be faster in developing regions.1 Because the numbers of older persons are growing, the amount of elder abuse can be expected to grow with it. While the taboo topic of elder abuse has started to gain visibility across the world, it remains one of the least investigated types of violence in national surveys, and one of the least addressed in national action plans.
This year’s theme underscores the importance of preventing financial exploitation in the context of elder abuse to the enjoyment of older persons’ human rights. In line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, older people have the right to a life of dignity in old age, free of all forms of abuse, including financial and material exploitation, which could lead to poverty, hunger, homelessness, compromised health and well-being, and even premature mortality.
The 2017 WEAAD theme will explore effective means of strengthening protections against financial and material exploitation, including by improving the understanding of this form of elder abuse and discussing ways of ensuring the participation of older adults themselves in ending victimization. It will further serve to inform the thematic discussions of the upcoming eighth session of the General Assembly’s Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, which will take place in New York from 5 to 7 July 2017.