European Day for Victims: Let’s not forget the victims of elder abuse!

Brussels. 22 February 2017

PDF version available here

On the occasion of the European Day for Victims of Crime, AGE Platform Europe calls on European Union countries and the European Commission to implement in a comprehensive and ambitious way the 2012 European Union Directive on Victims’ Rights. In a position paper released to mark this day, AGE stresses the importance of using the process of implementation of this Directive to improve the protection of older persons who have suffered abuse, violence and maltreatment.

Elder abuse is not a minor or anecdotal phenomenon, but a widespread violation of the human rights and dignity of older persons, especially those in situations of dependency and with care needs. Persistent ageist attitudes, demographic ageing and increasing financial pressures on care systems are very likely to make elder abuse even more prevalent in the near future in Europe.

Given the very high levels of underreporting, there is an urgency to ensure that victim protection mechanisms can become more effective and reflect the realities faced by older persons who are victims of violence, abuse and exploitation. The implementation of the 2012 Directive provides an excellent opportunity in that regard. It can serve as a new platform to facilitate the exchange of information and practices between victim support services, police and court practitioners and older persons and their organisations.

There is a lack of awareness of the potential of the Directive among organisations of older persons, and the professionals responsible for supporting and protecting victims are often unaware of the specificities of elder abuse and how to reach out to victims. Our position paper stresses the need to close this gap. It also announces AGE’s actions on this front, especially the organisation of a workshop between victim support services, organisations of older persons and policymakers in order to share information, discuss possibilities for cooperation and further explore the potential of the 2012 Directive to support and protect victims of elder abuse.

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