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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day observed.

ISLAMABAD -- World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was celebrated worldwide including Pakistan on Friday.

According to the United Nations Organization, "until the advent of initiatives to address child abuse and domestic violence in the last quarter of the 20th century, abuse of the elderly remained a private matter, well hidden from public view".

But now, this issue has emerged as an important problem and is also likely to grow as the world is experiencing rapidly ageing populations. The experts predict that by the year 2050, 20% of the world's population will be over 60 - 2 billion people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines elder abuse as "a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person".

Similar to other types of violence, elder abuse can take various forms such as physical, psychological or emotional and financial abuse. It can also be the result of intentional or unintentional neglect.

The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) explains that the day is in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action which recognizes the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.

Country director of HelpAge International Pakistan, Ajeeba K. Aslam said Pakistan is one of those countries where the old age communities do not have at all or have a very little legal protection from abuse or other types of violence.

She said that the only sign of hope for the country's ageing population is a Senior Citizens Bill, which is awaiting enactment by the parliament since 2007. Once passed, the bill can address several problems of older people including abuse, she added.

She said that WEAAD is a day when the government, development circles, academia, religious groups, civil society, media as well as older people themselves should come forward and take action.

There is an immediate need to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons amongst the society. This can be done by running awareness campaigns around the country to point out the cultural, socio-economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect, said Ajeeba.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jun 16, 2012
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