News / USA

June 15 is Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Elder abuse is expected to rise as global population ages. Credit: HelpAge International
Elder abuse is expected to rise as global population ages. Credit: HelpAge International

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
Sunday, June 15, is Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The World Health Organization describes elder abuse as a global social issue affecting the health and human rights of millions of people. It estimates up to six-percent of the elderly are abused at home, with many cases going unreported.
 
Listen to De Capua report on elder abuse
Listen to De Capua report on elder abusei
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

The U.N. predicts the number of people 60 years old and above will reach about 1.2-billion by 2025. That’s more than double the figure recorded in 1995. And as the global population ages, the U.N. said elder abuse is expected to rise.
 
In Pretoria, South Africa, Necodimus Chipfupa is among those campaigning for the rights of older people. He’s the regional director for southern Africa for HelpAge International.
 
“Elder abuse is a universal problem encountered in many countries – with little recourse at [the] national level where [the] government in some cases may not have specific policies to encounter and remedy where such abuse is taking place.”
 
He said there’s a wide range of abuse against the elderly.
 
“Physical, emotional, sexual, psychological abuses -- and in some cases discrimination and denial of rights for older persons -- thereby taking them as sub-persons in their own nations,” he said
 
And the abuse can be violent.
 
“For example,” he said, “in witchcraft accusations, in the case of Africa, or in circumstances where an older person or an older woman is suffering from Alzheimer’s as a form of dementia – they are labeled as a witch and violently killed. Their property torched.”
 
Chipfupa said some elderly women are raped because of the myth that having sex with an older person can cure someone of HIV/AIDS.
 
The HelpAge International regional director says elderly, who receive government assistance, are also targets.
 
“In some cases, like in South Africa, where older persons receive a social grant, families abuse them and take the money – using it for their own purposes without even consulting the older person. And in such a situation the police having no recourse and not being helpful at all.”
 
Abuse comes in other forms, as well, he said. For example, many who have jobs in the informal sector have no pensions or health insurance to rely on in old age.
 
“With old age non-communicable diseases begin to increase and people really need access to health services. And there are no medical insurances, which they could contribute to and lead to supporting them at old age, as it were. And, therefore, older persons find themselves hit hard when they’re sick and require medical services,” he said.
 
To remedy such problems, there’s a growing call for a U.N. convention on the rights of older people. HelpAge said such a treaty would “set standards prohibiting violence against older men and women that currently do not exist in international human rights law.” And the convention would ensure victims have access to the justice system.
 
Support for the convention is being gathered through the Age Demands Action campaign, which includes a petition. The goal is to collect 300,000 signatures. More than 200,000 have been collected so far. The petition said governments have an “obligation to uphold the rights of older people and protect them from discrimination.”
 
A U.N. working group on ageing will meet in July in New York to gather information and evidence on the need for the convention.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More