Many elder abuses related to relatives: UN expert

Source: Xinhua| 2018-06-15 01:28:08|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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GENEVA, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Many older people are at risk of being abused by their own relatives or those they trust, a UN expert warned on Thursday.

In a statement to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, the UN expert stressed that everyone should be more vigilant and report suspected cases of elder abuse, including financial wrongdoing.

Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, the independent expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, said in the statement that most of this abuse goes undetected, even when there are clear warning signs.

"Financial abuse of older persons is rampant but largely invisible, and the problem is expected to grow dramatically with the ageing of our societies," she noted.

However, she added, it is impossible to say how big the problem is, as data is scarce because of under-reporting.

According to the UN expert, most abusers are family members, and this is a particularly delicate matter.

"It is difficult, even for experienced professionals, to distinguish an unwise but legitimate financial transaction from an exploitative one that was the result of undue influence, duress, fraud, or a lack of informed consent," she explained.

The older person may even tacitly acknowledge it or feel that the perpetrator has some entitlement to his or her assets, she said, and some older people also have a desire to compensate those who provide them with care, affection, or attention.

"Under-reporting of cases of elder abuse is partly due to loyalty, shame, and embarrassment of the victims," she noted, adding that one of the few ways to stop financial abuse of older people is to report it.

"If you suspect that someone you care about has been or is being abused, I can only urge you to speak up," she concluded.