REGOROGILE – World Elder Abuse Day is observed annually on 15 June to create awareness and ensure that elder abuse is reported and addressed.
Ms Doris Maswanganyi from Office of the Premier spoke to senior citizens about their rights. The event, which was held at Regorogile Multipurpose Sports Centre, saw more than 200 elderly people attending.
The senior citizens were educated about their rights and on what to do when they experience abuse. She further encouraged the pensioners to ensure they do not allow their children to bully them into spending their money or buying them clothes.
“Your pension money is to take of your needs,” says Maswanganyi.
Events are held to educate families and communities on the rights of older people and the importance of reporting instances where there has been a violation of such rights. In South Africa older people are protected by the provisions of the Older Persons Act 13/2006. This Act criminalises abuse and states that “any action or lack of action occurring in a relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person” would be deemed as abuse.
Older people continue to be a vulnerable group and in order to ensure their safety an integrated response by all stakeholders including the SAPS, the Department of Justice, Department of Social Development, NPOs and Faith Based Organisations etc is required.
“Forms of elder abuse include physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, financial abuse and exploitation, abandonment and self-neglect. We are gathered here today to spread this campaign against elder abuse” said Ms Minette Kruger, District Coordinator for Disabled and Older Persons in the Department of Social Development, Waterberg District. She educated the senior citizens about physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Kruger urged the senior citizens to report abusers to police and to not protect them in fear of what they might do.
Abuse comes in other forms, as well. For example, many who have jobs in the informal sector have no pensions or health insurance to rely on in old age. The World Elder Abuse day is a reminder that elderly people deserve our respect and protection should they become frail and unable to care for themselves
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