Friday, August 15, 2014

United Nations: Abuse of Older Women Overlooked and Under-reported

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Information from the United Nations Fifth Working Group on Aging indicates that the Abuse of Older Women is often overlooked and under-reported.

An article by Chao Ngu and published by the Inter Press News Agency August 15 examines the issue. The article interviews experts including Patricia Brownell, vice president of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. Brownell stated:

It’s underreported. In many cases, the victims did not want to talk about it. They felt guilty. They felt it was their fault.
The article states that most research on the abuse of older women has focused on North America and Europe. A study conducted in five European countries in 2011 found that around 28 percent of older women had experienced abuse. The article suggests that the situation in developing countries, where the socio-economic conditions are worse and the welfare system weaker, mostly remains unknown.

Silvia Perel-Levin, chair of the NGO Committee on Ageing in Geneva told the UN conference that:
the prevalence of abuse ranges from six percent to 44 percent of those surveyed, depending on the geographic location and socio-economic conditions.
Perel-Levin believes that elder abuse has always existed with society becoming more aware of the prevalence of elder abuse.

I believe that elder abuse has always been a problem, but due to a change in societal attitudes the scourge of elder abuse has become more prevalent. Society needs to tackle the problem especially as attitudes towards quality of life become more predominant.



If euthanasia and/or assisted suicide become legal, many elders will feel pressured by a controlling or abusive family member or friend to "choose to die," especially when financial or others personal gain is involved.

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