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The Challenge of Combating Elder Abuse

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The Importance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Within the framework of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, it is crucial to address a problem that unfortunately is often overlooked. This day not only seeks to make abuse visible, but also to combat ageism or age discrimination, classified by the World Health Organization as the third most widespread form of discrimination, after racism and sexism. The increase in violence towards this group in Catalonia is especially worrying, a vital period in which older people are in maximum vulnerability.

Alarming Increase in Cases of Abuse

Professionals from the working group promoted by the Barcelona Provincial Council against elder abuse have detected an alarming increase in the number of cases. In 2023, a total of 544 cases were recorded, which represents a significant increase compared to previous years. In the province of Barcelona, ​​violent episodes have almost doubled in just two years, with an increase of 48%. The situation in the Girona Provincial Council is also worrying, with an increase of 21% in the last year and an increase in the number of cases managed since the implementation of the protocol in 2019.

Revealing Data about Aggressors and Types of Violence

The figures reveal that, in most cases, the children are the aggressors, with the family environment being the most likely to exert this violence. Furthermore, gender bias is evident, with 83% of victims being women and 77% of aggressors being men. Regarding the type of violence, the psychological, economic and physical stand out. Although between 4% and 6% of older people have suffered abuse, only one in twenty victims report these cases, making their eradication even more difficult.

Alert Call from the Ombudsman of Greuges

Faced with this worrying situation, the Ombudsman of Greuges, Ester Giménez-Salinas, has launched a warning call during the inauguration of a day on abuse of the elderly. She has committed to working to create the consensus necessary to eradicate elder abuse, calling for the approval of the Elderly Law and the review of current protocols. Likewise, she has emphasized the urgency of finding quick solutions for this group, since ‘a year in the life of an older person is a long time’. The Ombudsman has also highlighted the lack of updated data as a symptom of great collective neglect, stating that the abuse of older people is a very hidden, silenced and understudied form of violence.

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