Sexual abuse of elderly likely to ‘grow dramatically’, UN expert says

WHO/Yoshi Shimizu An elderly patient receives rehabilitation care in Japan.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


As the world prepares to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day this Saturday, the UN independent human rights expert mandated with defending the rights of older persons, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, has stressed that they are often victims of sexual abuse and rape, although it remains rarely detected, reported or exposed.

“The sexual abuse and rape of older persons is a subject rarely discussed, but nevertheless is a reality,” said Ms. Kornfeld-Matte, in a statement issued on Thursday, calling on everyone to “be more attentive and report suspected cases of abuse of older people”.

“Invisible” and “still taboo”, she noted that, “with the ageing of our societies, this problem is expected to grow dramatically” and that “without enough data, statistics and studies, we will not have even an estimate of the dimensions involved.”

The human rights expert explained that one of the challenges of sexual abuse is the perpetuation of the myth that it’s mainly carried out by strangers. “Sadly, most abusers are family members, relatives or other confidants typically in caring positions,” she emphasized.

Ms. Kornfeld-Matte noted that “negative stereotypes, such as that older persons aren’t sexual beings, their greater dependency on others, potential divided loyalty to staff members or residents, are unique barriers to reporting, detecting and preventing sexual assault in nursing homes”.

Despite severe health consequences, efforts to prevent and address abuse remain inadequate. For example, the expert explained, “forensic and other criminal evidence can be lost by mistaken compassion or shame of others who desire to make the older person comfortable instead of calling the police”.

To remedy this, she called on everyone to increase their vigilance, noting that the behavior of an older person, even if they have confusion or dementia, will show when something is wrong.

“Let me reiterate that awareness and attentiveness is critical,” she stressed. “Not only relatives and confidants but also staff in hospitals and care facilities must be aware of the existence of sexual assault and that it is their duty as care providers to report alleged or suspected sexual assault in a timely manner”.

She called on more education, training, data and research to address the knowledge gaps around incidence, reporting and investigations, in order to better prevent and respond to the scourge.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Measles claims more than twice as many lives than Ebola in DR Congo

COP21 Breaking News: Conference of Youth Focuses on Hard Skills to Drive Greater Climate Action

Bolivia: UN underlines support for ‘credible, transparent and inclusive’ election

On Youth Education: “Just a normal day in the life of a medical student”

Investment Plan for Europe: European Investment Bank to provide BioNTech with up to €100 million in debt financing for COVID-19 vaccine development and manufacturing

Wars have rules: 5 things the UN humanitarian chief wants countries to tackle so human suffering in conflict can be minimized

Continue ‘their mission’ urges UN chief, as the victims of the Baghdad bombing are remembered, 15 years on

Global public-private collaboration tackles cybersecurity skills gap

Mobility package: Transport Committee backs deal with EU Ministers

Can the EU really make Google and Facebook pay publishers and media?

Eurozone guarantees all banks with…taxpayers’ money

Nauru President warns of possible climate change ‘economic Armageddon’

Trump aims trade offensive solely to China, renews truce with EU

UN underlines need for dialogue to resolve Israel-Palestine conflict

Security Council extends mandate of UN Interim Force in Lebanon for a year

5G and the growing need for national CTOs

FROM THE FIELD: Enslaved Guatemalan indigenous women wait for reparations

COVID-19 reminds us of the crucial role nurses play

Coronavirus: Member States agree on an interoperability solution for mobile tracing and warning apps

‘Transformational benefits’ of ending outdoor defecation: Why toilets matter

UN health agency to gauge global threat, as China confirms coronavirus transmission between humans

20 years on from landmark Mine Ban Treaty, dangers on the rise to life and limb

UN health agency launches week of action to ban lead paint

These countries have some of the highest voter turnout in the world

Property regimes for international couples in Europe: new rules apply in 18 Member States as of today

MEPs condemn attacks on civilians, including children, in Yemen

Germany may prove right rejecting Commission’s bank resolution scheme

Do we judge robots on their colour? This study says we do

The European Parliament rewrites the EU budget in a bright day for the Union

President David Sassoli to visit Skopje: “Remain on the European track”

Brexit negotiations: Can May’s Britain bounce back?

Eurozone: Despite anemic growth and shaky banks marks record trade surplus

UN investigates systematic sexual violence across South Sudan

Mobile 360 Africa 11-13 July 2017

This start-up is making a palm oil alternative from used coffee grounds

Deeper reforms in Germany will ensure more inclusive and sustainable growth

EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: EUR 400 million Special Measure on education adopted

European Defence Fund: €205 million to boost the EU’s strategic autonomy and industrial competitiveness

State aid: Commission approves €3 billion Portuguese guarantee schemes for SMEs and midcaps affected by Coronavirus outbreak

How COVID-19 is making companies act for the long term

How can the EU hit net-zero emissions?

Here’s why the world’s recovery from COVID-19 could be doughnut shaped

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on guidance for national courts when handling disclosure information

IMF: All you want to know about Argentina

The issues of practicing medicine in Pakistan

Resolving Israel-Palestinian conflict, ‘key to sustainable peace’ in the Middle East: Guterres

European Fund for Transition to support more workers made redundant

These are the most desirable cities for overseas workers

Syria: UN chief warns Idlib offensive may set off ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

Peace operations benefit from improved cooperation between the UN and troop-providing countries, says peacekeeping chief

At epicentre of Indonesia disaster, Guterres praises resilience of Sulawesi people

The ethical dilemmas of medicine

MWC 2016 LIVE: The top 5 themes of this year’s Mobile World Congress

Nuclear testing has ‘disastrous consequences’ for people and planet, General Assembly told

Security Council welcomes Yemen breakthrough, but lasting peace remains a ‘daunting task’

Jeroen Dijsselbloem new Eurogroup president

At last some rules on banks

Most leaders are missing this crucial character trait

Parliament backs measures to cut e-commerce VAT fraud

5 ways to break down the barriers for women to access leadership roles

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s