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Posted: 15 June 2021

Today SALGA is commemorating World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. World Elder Abuse Day, is an annual initiative launched by the World Health Organisation and recognised by the United Nations General Assembly. It is a day in which the world voices its opposition to any form of abuse of the older generation. SALGA commemorates this day to acknowledge the plight of older persons and renew our commitment to the empowerment and protection of older persons and their rights, safety and well-being, as outlined in the Older Persons Act of 2006.

This year the theme for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is “Access to Justice,” which serves as a reminder of the importance to fully address the needs of older persons who may seek recourse. Older persons who have experienced situations of violence, abuse and neglect face multiple barriers in accessing judicial remedies. Access to Justice impacts older persons’ ability to fully exercise all their human rights including the right to health, adequate social protection and to live in dignity. The preservation or restoration of dignity and respect for older persons is crucial in such situations.

There are no official reports available on the status of elder abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa, however early reports on domestic and family violence indicated significant increases in reported cases since March 2020. Global research suggests that 4 to 6 percent of the elderly suffer from some kind of abuse, most of which is unreported. Elder abuse is one of the least investigated types of violence and does not get addressed as frequently as other social issues.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a reminder of the need to remain focused on our elders, ensuring they lead a life of high quality and dignity by developing more effective prevention strategies, optimising living conditions, and increasing access to the services available.

 
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