Calls for action on violence against older people

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 06-10-2019 14:00:00 · 0 Comments
Calls for action on violence against older people

The Portuguese Victim Support Association (APAV) has called for action to prevent and denounce violence against older people, describing it a social, public safety, public health and justice problem.

APAV said in a statement that "ageing population [in Portugal and many other developed countries] and some associated phenomena, including violence against the elderly, constitute the greatest challenges of the 21st century."

It underscored that "recognition of the victimisation of elderly people has been slow, but it is increasingly evident today," adding that the phenomenon is “a social, safety, public health and justice problem, and [its] effective combat can contribute to a more inclusive future, where everyone is respected throughout the life cycle, notably in the context of active and healthy ageing."

APAV helps older people who are victims of crime and their families and friends, providing them with legal, psychological and social support in collaboration with other public and private institutions.

"We also count on everyone, on neighbours, on the victims’ acquaintances: their role is very important in the prevention and denunciation of situations of violence," APAV stressed in the statement.

In 2018, APAV supported 926 elderly people who had been victims of crime and violence – an average of 18 people per week.

"These figures, as well as those recorded by official court statistics, do not, however, reflect the daily reality of the victims, [which is] even more tragic and silent,” the note reads. “Despite the public’s greater awareness, there is still a a perception of the problem [that is not very] widespread."

The association has in partnership with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation been developing the ‘Portugal Older’ project, which aims to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against the elderly, as well as raising public awareness of the phenomenon. It draws on the participation of professionals from various areas who have been discussing ways to combat violence against the elderly.

"Crimes of violence against the elderly population cannot be passed over in silence,” the APAV statement says. “Staying quiet, closing your eyes, is to be an accomplice to this crime."

The International Day of Older Persons was established by the United Nations in 1991 to raise awareness in society for issues relating to ageing and the need to promote the human rights of older people.

The public can seek help from APAV in various ways, including via its Victim Support Line (116 006 in Portugal), which provides free and confidential support.


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