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Jun 15, 2021

Elder Abuse: Secret Crime Seldom Reported

June fifteenth is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  The National Council on Ageing says last year, four percent of domestic violence cases were crimes against older men and women, but only one out of every twenty-four cases of elder abuse is actually reported to authorities.  Honing in on Belize, the release says, “Elder Abuse is considered silent epidemic as older persons often refuse to admit that their loved ones have mistreated them and due to physical frailty or dependence are unable to leave abusive situations.”  Today, Minister of Human Development and Families Dolores Balderamos Garcia issued a call to all Belizeans to play a more active role in the lives of the elderly, to end the abuse and help them feel less isolated.


Dolores Balderamos Garcia

Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Minister of Human Development & Families

“Elder abuse comes in many forms, including the misuse of finances, isolation, or the neglect of the older person’s needs. Unfortunately, the abuse often occurs at the hands of family members, caregivers, friends or people they trust. An older person who is being abused feels a deep sense of hurt or embarrassment that a loved one has mistreated them. The challenges older people face have been compounded since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. While physical distancing is a must, social exclusion is not. On the better side, as a country, we can and will continue to strengthen efforts to ensure that the contributions and voices of older persons are not forgotten or excluded. This can be done in simple ways, checking upon your elderly neighbours; friends or family members. Or teaching older persons how to be technologically savvy including learning the basic in and out of digital devices so that they can enjoy social media, video calls and being connected to their friends and family. When we ensure that our older persons know that they are not alone, we build their resilience and empower them to speak out.   Today, June fifteenth, we challenge you to make a commitment to support the ongoing work with our elderly. This can be done by getting involved in the work of the local community groups; volunteering to assist older persons in your community or speaking up when you see an older person being mistreated or neglected.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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